Spirituality for Today – March 2010 – Volume 14, Issue 8

The 43rd Pope

St. Celestine I

A photo ofThe 43rd Pope, St. Celestine I

Pope St. Celestine I (422-432) – His reign would include the Council of Ephesus. The pope reclaimed the churches in the city of Rome administered by Novationist (those insisting on rebaptism of those baptized by heretics or schismatics). In the year 410 A.D. the invading Visigoths under the leadership of Alaric sacked Rome causing much destruction including the basilica Santa Maria in Trastevere. Pope Celestine initiated the restoration of the basilica.

An important event in the history of the Church in Ireland took place during the reign of Pope Celestine I. In 431 Palladius was consecrated by the pope as the first bishop of Ireland.

Pope Celestine I was a strong advocate of the authority of the pope over the universal Church. Thus, when the debate over the relationship between the divinity and the humanity of Jesus between St. Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius of Constantinople was submitted to Rome for resolution, the pope understood himself to be the final arbiter. He condemned the views of Nestorius that Christ possessed two distinct persons and Mary must be considered the bearer of the human person, and affirmed the position of St. Cyril that the human and divine in Christ were unified and Mary may rightly be called the Mother of God. The pope affirmed the decisions of the Council of Ephesus (called by the Emperor Theodosius II) regarding this matter.

Pope Celestine I was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla.

Habemus papam