Saturday, January 09, 2010

Pope St. Alexander I of Rome

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Pope St. Alexander I, a Roman{1} and the son of Alexander,{2} was elected the fifth successor of St. Peter the Prince of Apostles in 106.{3} There is no authentic information about what he did during his pontificate.{4} The absence of any testimony to his martyrdom before the end of the fifth century indicates that he was not a martyr,{5} and the martyr St. Alexander is a different saint from a later century.{6} St. Alexander I died, apparently of natural causes, in 115.{7} The newest (2004) Roman Martyrology does not commemorate him on May 3, but the Roman Canon of the Mass still commemorates him.{8} His holy relics were transferred to Freising in Bavaria in 834.{9}

O holy pontiff St. Alexander I, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Notes & References
{1} According to the Liber Pontificalis. "Alexander I, St." The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. J. N. D. Kelly. with new material by Michael Walsh. Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Fordham University. 9 December 2009 <>.
{2} According to the Liber Pontificalis. Ibid.
{3} Duchesne gives the year 106. Shahan, Thomas. "Pope St. Alexander I." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 8 Dec. 2009 <>.
{4} a. Weltin, E. G. "Alexander I, Pope, St." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 253. 15 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Fordham University Libraries. 19 Dec. 2009.
b. "Alexander I, St." Kelly, loc. cit.
{5} Shahan, loc. cit.
{6} Weltin, loc. cit.
{7} Duchesne gives the year 115. Shahan, loc. cit.
{8} Thanks to my reader Basil for this correction! The 4th-century martyr St. Alexander is the St. Alexander commemorated in the new Roman Martyrology on May 3; he lived long after Pope St. Alexander I. The third edition of the Roman Missal says,
To us, also, your sinful servants, who hope in your abundant mercies, graciously grant some share and fellowship with your holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John the Baptist, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, [Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia] and all your Saints: admit us, we beg you, into their company, not weighing our merits, but granting us your pardon, through Christ our Lord.
{9} Shahan, loc. cit.


Basil said...

The revised Roman Martyrology (2004 edition -no English translation from Latin yet) has deleted him. The martyr on the Via Nomentana is now listed as a martyr at Baccanas on the Via Cassia. Since St Alexander is obviously still in the Roman Canon of the Mass, I presume that the latter is being remembered thereby. It's unusual for a saint in the General Calendar before 1969 to be deleted from the RM, but there are other examples.

Will R. Huysman said...

Dear Basil,
Thank you very much for your readership and your gracious correction! May Pope St. Alexander I and St. Ephraim, the holy deacon, Doctor of the Church, and "harp of the Holy Spirit" specially intercede for you and yours, that God may grant you all everlasting life.


Yours in Christ,
Will Raphael Huysman