October 2007 - Volume 12, Issue 3

The Fourteenth Pope

Saint Victor I

A black and white drawing of Saint Victor the FirstPope Saint Victor I (189-198) – Pope Victor I has the distinction of being the first pope from the continent of Africa.

During his reign the discussion over the celebration of Easter occurred once again. The pope was firm in maintaining current practice. A standoff developed with the churches of Asia Minor. The pope excommunicated the churches from the universal Church. Saint Irenaeus of Lyons advised the pope to follow the more tolerant policy of the past regarding the practice of these Eastern communities. Pope Victor must have acquiesced to this recommendation because the churches in question did not depart from the Ibid. Again, the primal status of the Church of Rome was indicated by this issue.

Pope Victor again wielded the sword of excommunication toward Theodotus of Byzantium as the leader of a heretical sect of Adoptionists. Adoptionism held that Jesus Christ was not the actual son of God but an "adopted" son.

Pope Victor was the first pope to interact with the imperial household, lie negotiated the release of a number of Christians who had been sentenced to serve in the mines of Sardinia. Although claimed as a martyr, there is no evidence to support it.

Habemus papam.