August 2007 - Volume 12, Issue 1

The Twelfth Pope

Saint Soter

Photo of a painting of Saint SoterPope Saint Anicetus (155-166) - Pope Anicetus was a Syrian from Emesa. Beside his interesting decree forbidding clerics to sport long hair (Gnostics may have had long hair), his reign was highlighted by the controversy over the date of Easter.

Pope Saint Soter (166-175) – During the reign of Pope Soter, the celebration of Easter on the Sunday following the Jewish Passover became an annual event.

Pope Soter's influence on the universal Church is manifested in a promise given to the pope from Dionysius, the Bishop of Corinth. Dionysius assured the pope that a letter from the pontiff to the Church in Corinth would be read regularly to the faithful. Given the fact that it was the situation in the city of Corinth that concerned the pope, it is probable that the pope was alarmed at the laxity of the sexual morals of the people and, perhaps, a concern over a too lenient policy allowing penitents to return to communion.

In a less significant matter, Pope Soter ordered that non-ordained monks refrain from handling altar cloths and cease offering incense in Church.

His name may be added to the numerous number of popes who are venerated as a martyr, but lack verifiable documentation of such a death.

Habemus papam.