Hyginus, St. Pope

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Pontificate: 138 to 142 or 149. Eusebius dates his reign from 138, the year of Telesphorus's death, and indicates that Hyginus died in 142 (Hist. 4.10, 11; 5.6, 24). The Liberian catalogue says he reigned 12 years. The Liber pontificalis fixes his term as four years and says he was a philosopher from Athens. Since Justin Martyr was a philosopher who joined the Roman church, the LP account is possibly true. There are no sources to support the report in the Roman martyrology that he was a martyr. According to St. irenaeus (3.4) the Gnostic heretics valentinus and Cerdo, predecessors of marcion, came to Rome during his pontificate. Although nothing is known of their effects on the community, their presence proves that Rome was becoming a Christian intellectual center. Modern excavations do not confirm the statement in the Liber pontificalis that Hyginus was buried in the Vatican near St. Peter.

Feast: Jan. 11.

Bibliography: Liber pontificalis, ed. l. duchesne (Paris 188692, 1958) 1:5657, 131. É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique. ed. a. vacant et al., (Paris 190350) 7.1:356357. j.n. d.kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986), 10. ch. breurer-winkler, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (3d ed. Freiburg 1996).

[e. g. weltin]