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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. 53-54.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.

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A.D. 257-258.

SIXTUS, an Athenian philosopher, became a Christian, the Decian and Valerian persecution yet continuing.

But it will not be foreign to our present purpose to go on, as we have begun, to give some account of the other tyrants, till we come to the true successor. Victorinus therefore being slain in Gallia, Tetricus, a senator, being at that time governor of Aquitain, was in his absence chosen emperor by the soldiers. But while these things are transacting in Gallia, Odenatus overcomes the Persians, defends Syria, and seizeth Mesopotamia as far as Ctesiphon.

At this time in Ptolemais, anciently called Barce, a city of Pentapolis, there was broached a doctrine, full of blasphemies against God the Father, and against Christ, whom it denied to be the Son of the Most High God and the first-born of every creature, and against the Holy Ghost, whose being it disowned. The assertors of it were called Sabellians, from Sabellius, the author of this perverse sect. What shall I say 54 of the carnal opinion of Cerinthus?1 who affirmed, that Christ should personally reign upon earth a thousand years (from whence by the Greeks he was called a Chiliast). Being himself a man of unbounded lust and luxury, he feigned a great plenty of delicious viands and a great variety of beautiful women to be the principal ingredients of the happiness of that kingdom. Of the same opinion likewise was Nepos, a bishop of some parts of Egypt, who affirmed that the saints were to reign with Christ on the earth, in the highest enjoyment of all sensual delights and pleasures (from whom his brutish followers were called Nepotiani). Sixtus had it some time in his mind to baffle and suppress these opinions, but being accused for preaching the faith of Christ contrary to the emperor’s edict, he was taken and led to the Temple of Mars, where he must either offer sacrifice to the idol, or, upon his refusal, be put to death. As he was going forth to punishment, Laurence, his archdeacons, thus bespake him: — “Whither art thou going, O my father, without thy son? whither, O best of bishops, art thou hastening without thy attendants?” To whom Sixtus answered, “I do not forsake thee, O my son; there are yet greater conflicts behind which thou art to undergo for the faith of Christ: within three days, thou, as a dutiful deacon, shalt follow me, thy bishop; in the meantime, if thou hast any stock lying by thee, distribute it all to the poor.” On the same day with Sixtus, which was the eighth of August, there were executed six deacons, viz., Felicissimus, Agapetus, Januarius, Magus, Innocentius, Stephanus. And on the third day after, August the tenth, the same Laurence, with Claudius the sub-deacon, and Severus the presbyter, and Crescentius the reader, and Romanus the door-keeper, were all put to death together, though with several kinds of tortures; among which it is said that Laurence was broiled upon a gridiron. Vincentius, who had been scholar to Sixtus, being gone into Spain, could not be present at this martyrdom. Sixtus, during his pontificate having at two Decembrian ordinations made four presbyters, seven deacons, two bishops, his body was interred in the cemetery of Calistus, in the Via Appia. The other martyrs lay in the cemetery of Prætextatus, in the Via Tiburtina. Sixtus sat in the chair two years, ten months, twenty-three days. And the see was vacant thirty-five days.


 1  Our author seems here to be confused with his dates. Cerinthus was a contemporary of St John. — ED.

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Previous Pope:  24. St. Stephanus I. 25. St. Sixtus II. Next Pope: 26. St. Dionysius.

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