115 AD to 125
Pope St. Sixtus I (in the oldest documents,
Xystus is the spelling used for the first three popes of that
name), succeeded St. Alexander and was followed by St. Telesphorus.
According to the "Liberian Catalogue" of popes, he ruled the Church
during the reign of Adrian "a conulatu Nigri et Aproniani usque Vero
III et Ambibulo", that is, from 117 to 126. Eusebius, who in his
"Chronicon" made use of a catalogue of popes different from the one
he used in his "Historia ecclesiastica", states in his "Chronicon"
that Sixtus I was pope from 114 to 124, while in his "History" he
makes him rule from 114 to 128. All authorities agree that he
reigned about ten years. He was a Roman by birth, and his father's
name was Pastor. According to the "Liber Pontificalis" (ed.
Duchesne, I, 128), he passed the following three ordinances: (1)
that none but sacred ministers are allowed to touch the sacred
vessels; (2) that bishops who have been summoned to the Holy See
shall, upon their return, not be received by their diocese except on
presenting Apostolic letters; (3) that after the Preface in the Mass
the priest shall recite the Sanctus with the people. The "Felician
Catalogue" of popes and the various martyrologies give him the title
of martyr. His feast is celebrated on 6 April. He was buried in the
Vatican, beside the tomb of St. Peter. His relics are said to have
been transferred to Alatri in 1132, though O Jozzi ("Il corpo di S.
Sisto I., papa e martire rivendicato alla basilica Vaticana", Rome,
1900) contends that they are still in the Vatican Basilica. Butler
(Lives of the Saints, 6 April) states that Clement X gave some of
his relics to Cardinal de Retz, who placed them in the Abbey of St.
Michael in Lorraine. The Xystus who is commemorated in the Canon of
the Mass is Xystus II, not Xystus I.