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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. 22-24.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.

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Circa A.D. 119-129.

SIXTUS, a Roman, the son of Pastor, or as others will have it, of Helvidius, held the Pontificate in the time of Hadrian, to the consulship of Verus and Anniculus.


Which Hadrian is reckoned in the number of the good emperors, upon the account of his liberality, splendour, magnificence, and clemency; an eminent instance of the last of which good qualities was this, that when a servant ran madly upon him with his sword, he took no other notice of the action than to order him a physician to cure his frenzy. He visited the sick twice or thrice in a day; at his own charge he repaired Alexandria when it had been ruined by the Romans; he rebuilt the Pantheon in Rome, and made aromatic presents to the people. Being at the point of death, he is said to have uttered these verses:

Animula, vagula, blandula,

  Hospes, comesque corporis,

  Quæ nunc abibis in loca,

  Pallidula, rigida, nudula?

  Nec, ut soles, dabis jocos.

He died of a dropsy in the two-and-twentieth year of his reign, and was buried at Puteoli, in Cicero’s Villa.

Sixtus, out of his care of the Church, ordained that the elements and vessels of the altar should not be touched by any but the ministers, but especially not by women; and that the corporal, as it is called, should be made of linen cloth only, and that of the finest sort. That no bishop who had been cited to appear before the apostolic see, should at his return be received by his flock, unless he brought with him letters communicatory to the people. At the celebration he instituted the hymn, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth.” Anciently the office of the communion was performed in a plain manner, and unclogged with human mixtures. St Peter, after consecration, used the paternoster; James, Bishop of Jerusalem, added some rites; Basil more, and others more still. For Celestine brought in the Introitus of the Mass, Gregory the Kyrie Eleison, Telesphorus The Glory be to God on High, Gelasius the First the Collects, and Hierom the Epistle and Gospel. The Alleluia was taken from the Church of Jerusalem, the Creed was instituted by the Council of Nice; Pelagius introduced the Commemoration of the Dead, Leo the Third the Incense, Innocent the First the Kiss of Peace, and Sergius ordered the Agnus Dei to be sung. During the time of Sixtus, the persecution being so sharp that few had courage enough to town the profession of Christianity, and the Christian Gauls desiring a bishop, to 24 them he sends Peregrine, a citizen of Rome, who, having confirmed them in the faith, at his return suffered martyrdom in the Via Appia, at the place where Christ appeared to Peter as he was leaving the city. His body was by the faithful carried into the Vatican, and buried near St Peter. Aquila, also by birth a Jew of Pontus, who with his wife Priscilla had been banished by the edict of Claudius, is said by some to have lived till this time; he was the second translator of the Old Testament, after the seventy who lived in the time of Ptolomy Philadelphus. As for Sixtus, having at three Decembrian ordinations made eleven presbyters, eleven deacons, and four bishops, he was crowned with martyrdom, and buried in the Vatican near St Peter, having been in the chair ten years, three months, and one-and-twenty days. Upon his death the see was vacant only two days.

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Previous Pope:  7. St. Alexander I. 8.  St. Sixtus I. Next Pope: 9. St. Telesphorus.

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