February 2007 - Volume 11, Issue 7

The Sixth Pope – Saint Alexander I


Photo of a painting of Saint Alexander IPope Saint Alexander I, (105-115) - Tradition ascribes a number of interesting acts to the pontificate of Alexander I. As is the case with many of the early popes, no credence can be given much of it.

Alexander is thought to be a native of Rome reigning during the time of the Emperor Trajan. He is said to have inserted the words of Our Lord's institution of the Eucharist into the Canon of the Mass. Although a form of this practice already existed, Alexander is held to have initiated the custom of blessing homes with salt and holy water. The authenticity of these acts has been viewed as dubious.

Alexander is thought to be a martyr, but confusion exists in this matter. Tradition claims that he was beheaded on a road on the outskirts of Rome. Near Rome, archeologists discovered a cemetery devoted to the actual martyrs Saints Alexander, Eventulus, and Theodulus. There is a debate over the accuracy of asserting that this Alexander is Pope Alexander.

Accepting the paucity of reliable information on the pontificate of Pope Saint Alexander I, we are left with a general, yet sincere, feeling of gratitude for the contributions of one of the earliest leaders of the Church.

Habemus papam.