Pope Pius I

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Pope Saint Pius I was Bishop of Rome, according to the Annuario Pontificio, from 142 or 146 to 157 or 161, respectively.[1] Others suggest that his pontificate was perhaps from 140 to 154.[2]


Early life

Pius is believed to have been born at Aquileia, in Northern Italy, during the late 1st century.[3] His father was called "Rufinus", who was also said to be of Aquileia according to the Liber Pontificalis.[4]

It is stated in the 2nd century Muratorian Canon,[5] and in the Liberian Catalogue,[6] that he was the brother of Hermas, author of the text known as The Shepherd of Hermas. The writer of the later text identifies himself as a former slave. This has led to speculation that both Hermas and Pius were freedmen.


St Pius I governed the Church in the middle of the 2nd century during the reigns of the Emperors Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius.[7] He was the ninth successor of Saint Peter.[2] He decreed that Easter should only be kept on a Sunday. Although being credited with ordering the publication of the Liber Pontificalis,[8] compilation of that document was not started before the beginning of the 6th century.[9] He is said to have built one of the oldest churches in Rome, Santa Pudenziana.

St Pius I endured many hardships during his reign. The fact that Saint Justin taught Christian doctrine in Rome during the pontificate of St Pius I and that the heretics Valentinus, Cerdon and Marcion visited Rome at the same time, is a strong argument for the primacy of the Roman See during the 2nd century.[8] Pope Pius I opposed the Valentinians and Gnostics under Marcion, whom he excommunicated.[10]

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