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From The Lives of the Popes from the Time of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII. Written Originally in Latin by B. Platina, Native of Cremona, and translated into English (from an anonymous translation, first printed in 1685 by Sir Paul Rycaut), Edited by William Benham, Volume I, London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, [1888, undated in text]; pp. 35-36.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.

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A.D. 192-202.

VICTOR, an Asian, son of Felix, was, as I believe, in the time of Ælius Pertinax, which Ælius, being seventy years of age, was from the office of city-præfect created emperor by a decree of the Senate. Being afterwards desired to declare his lady Augusta, and his son Cæsar, he refused both, saying it was enough that he himself was emperor against his will. But undergoing the reproach of that unprincely vice, covetousness, being so sordid as to cause the half of a lettuce or artichoke to be served up to his table, he was without any opposition slain in the palace by Didius Julianus in the sixth month of his reign. This is that Julian1 who made the perpetual edict, and who in the seventh month after his coming to the empire was vanquished and slain in a civil war by Severus at Pons Milvius.

Victor, out of his care of the affairs of the church, decreed, that according to a former constitution of Eleutherius, as Damasus tells us, Easter should be kept upon the Sunday, which fell between the fourteenth and twenty-first day after the phasis or appearance of the moon in the first month. Theophilus, bishop of Cæsarea Palestinæ, was obedient to this decree, and wrote against those who observed that feast, as the Jews did their Passover, always upon the fourteenth day of the moon, whatever day of the week it happened to be. But Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, very hotly declaimed against this constitution, stiffly contending that, according to ancient custom, it ought to be celebrated precisely on that day on which the Jews kept their Passover. For he maintained that herein he followed the example of St John the apostle, and others, the ancients. We, says he, observe the exact day, neither anticipating nor protracting it. Thus did Philip, who died at Hierapolis; thus did John, who leaned on our Lord’s bosom; thus did Polycarp, Thraseas, Melito, and Narcissus, Bishop of Jerusalem. Hereupon some tell us, that a council was held in Palestine, at which were present Theophilus, Irenæus, Narcissus, Polycarp, Bacchylus, all bishops of great note in Asia. But the whole matter was afterwards referred to 36 to the Council of Nice, in which it was decreed that Easter should be kept on the Sunday following the fourteenth day of the moon, to avoid all appearance of Judaising. Victor also ordained that, in cases of necessity, proselytes might at their desire be baptized in any kind of water or at any time of the year. During his pontificate there flourished many learned men. As, for instance, Appion, who wrote the “Hexaëmeron,” or account of the six days’ work of creation; Paulus Samosatenus,2 who, together with Theodotus, held our Saviour to have been a mere man; Sixtus, who wrote of the resurrection; and Arabianus, who published several treatises of Christian doctrine. Now also one Judas wrote a chronology to the tenth year of Severus the emperor; wherein yet he is guilty of a mistake in asserting that Antichrist would come in his time — an error into which I suppose him to have fallen from the observation he had made of the cruelty and other vices of the age, which he saw now grown to such a height, that he thought Almighty God could not bear with mankind any longer. By which very thing Lactantius and St Austin themselves were after deceived. Our Victor, having first written some books concerning religion, died and was buried near St Peter in the Vatican, whose feast we observe on the 28th day of July. He was in the chair ten years, three months, ten days, and the see was vacant twelve days.


 1  A mistake. The author of the perpetual edict in the reign of Hadrian was Salvius Julian, a different person altogether. — ED.

 2  He lived considerably later, being made Bishop of Samosata about A.D. 260. — ED.

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Previous Pope:  14. St. Eleutherius. 15. St. Victor I. Next Pope: 16. St. Zephyrinus.

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