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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. 58-60.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.

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A.D. 283-296.

CAIUS, a Dalmatian, the son of Caius, a kinsman of the Emperor Diocletian, lived in the times of Probus, Carus, and Carinus.

Probus, a man renowned for military skill, having undertaken the government, was very successful in recovering Gallia that had been possessed by the barbarians. He also vanquished 59 Saturninus, who was attempting to usurp the Empire in the east, and Proculus and Bonosus at Cologne. But this valiant and just man was notwithstanding slain in a tumult of the soldiers at Sirmium, in the sixth year of his reign. After whom Carus Narbonensis entered upon the Empire, and held it two years. He having admitted his two sons, Carinus and Numerianus, to a share in the government, and having in the Parthian War taken Celænæ and Ctesiphon, two famous cities, was in the camp slain by a thunderbolt. Numerianus, who was returning with his father, was murdered by the fraud of his father-in-law, Arrius Aper. But Carinus, a person most dissolutely lewd, was overcome after a sharp and doubtful engagement by Diocletian in Dalmatia; and at length suffered the just punishment of his villanies.

Caius stated the several orders in the Church by which, as by certain steps and degrees, the clergy were to rise to the Episcopal dignity. These were the door-keeper, the reader, the exorcist, the acolythus, the sub-deacon, the deacon, the presbyter, and the bishop. He also, as Fabianus had done before him, allotted several regions to the deacons, who were to register and compile the acts of the martyrs. He ordained, likewise, that no laic should commence a suit of law against a clergyman, and that no pagan or heretic should have power to accuse a Christian. In his time lived Victorinus, Bishop of Poictiers, who wrote diverse commentaries on the Scriptures, and was very sharp and severe against the heresies then prevailing, though he had greater skill in the Latin than the Greek tongue, as Hierom will have it, who tells us that the sense of his writings was great, but the style mean. Pamphilus, also a presbyter, and the intimate friend of Eusebius, bishop of Cesarea, was so eagerly greedy of divine learning, that with his own hand he transcribed a great part of Origen’s books; which books Eusebius affirms himself to have seen in the library of Cesarea, with as great satisfaction as if he had gained the riches of Crœsus. The same Pamphilus wrote the defence of Origen, as Eusebius himself also did not long after.

But in the reign of Diocletian, there arising against the Christians a persecution sharper than ever was before, Caius lay a long time concealed in certain grottoes and vaults underground; but being at length discovered and taken from thence by the persecutors, together with his brother, Gabinius, 60 and his niece, Susanna, he was crowned with martyrdom, and buried in the cemetery of Calistus, in the Via Appia, April the 22nd. Some write that Lucia, Agatha, and Agnes became martyrs not long after. Caius sat in the chair thirteen years, four months, twelve days; in which time, at four several Decembrian ordinations, he made twenty-five presbyters, eight deacons, five bishops; and by his death the see was vacant eleven days.

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Previous Pope:  28. St. Eutychianus. 29. St. Caius. Next Pope: 30. St. Marcellinus.

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