Sixtus I, Pope, St.

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Pontificate: 117 or 119 to 126 or 128. Sixtus (Xystus) was the sixth successor to Peter (see clement i). The Liberian catalogue dates his reign 117 to 126. Virtually all lists and Eusebius (Histoire ecclesiastique 4.4, 5; 5.6, 24) indicate a ten-year episcopate. The Liber pontificalis says that he was a Roman, son of a certain Pastor but the name Xystus is Greek. It also attributes to him a garbled disciplinary decree that is intelligible only in early sixth-century terms, a decree that sacred vessels should not be touched except by the ministering clergy, and a decree that the people should chant the Sanctus with the priest. He probably was not a martyr. His reputed burial near the body of Peter in the Vatican has not been substantiated by modern excavations.

Feast: April 6.

Bibliography: Liber pontificalis, ed. l. duchesne (Paris 188692) 1:ccviii, 5457, 128. É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., (Paris 190350) 14.2:19394. j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 9. e. ferguson, Encyclopedia of Early Christianity (New York 1997) 2:1065. e. kettenhoffen, BiographischBibliographisches Kirshcenlexikon, 10 (Herzburg 1995).

[e. g. weltin]