Sixtus II of Rome

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Revision as of 12:41, February 28, 2012

Sixtus II of Rome, also Xystus from Greek: Ξυστος, was the bishop of Rome from 257 to 258. He died a martyr during the persecution of emperor Valerian. He is commemorated on August 7.

Life

Of Greek origin, Sixtus was a deacon of the Church of Rome under Bishop Stephen. Nothing is known of his early life. In April 257, Valerian, who had previously been more accommodating of Christians during his reign, began a general persecution that continued until his death which was about the year 260. Among the first martyrs of Valerian's persecutions was Bishop Stephen, whom Sixtus succeeded. During his early days as bishop, Bp. Sixtus was able to perform his duties as the chief pastor of the Christians of Rome without being bothered by the authorities charged with carrying out the imperial edict.

In August 258, however, a new edict calling for the deaths of bishops, priests, and deacons was issued. To escape vigilance of the imperial officers immediately after the renewed edict was issued, Bp. Sixtus assembled his people for the liturgy in a less known cemetery near the cemetery of St. Callistus. While addressing his flock, the group was arrested by a band of soldiers. Thus, Bp. Sixtus became among the first to reach martyrdom in the renewed persecution when he was beheaded on August 6, 258 with six of his deacons, Januarius, Vincent, Magnus, Stephen, Felicissimus, and Agapitus.

Succession box:
Sixtus II of Rome
Preceded by:
Stephen I
Bishop of Rome
257-258
Succeeded by:
Dionysius
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