Popes in a Year
#5 - Pope St. Evaristus
Pope from 97-105 A.D.
Died: 105 A.D.
How do we know he was pope?
Like his three predecessors, St. Evaristus is identified by St. Irenaeus in his work
("Against Heresy") as the fifth pope and fourth successor of St. Peter. Ancient writer Hippolytus also identifies Evaristus as fifth in line.
Give me the scoop on Evaristus.
Honestly, we don't know a whole lot about this pope. The
, a sort of "who's who" history book of popes from the early Church, says he was Greek by birth, and that his dad's name was Judah. His feast day is October 26, and he is thought to be buried near the body of St. Peter on the Vatican Hill in Rome.
What was he known for?
By the time Evaristus became pope, the Church had grown so much that the bishops couldn't do all the work on their own anymore. It's understood that during Evaristus' eight-year reign he assigned priests to the seven "titular churches" (parishes) in Rome, and also assigned a similar number of deacons to help him minister to the faithful in the Eternal City.
Since St. John, the last living member of the 12 Apostles, died around 96 A.D., Evaristus was the first pope to reign without an apostolic presence somewhere in the world. Talk about pressure.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
A nasty guy named Trajan took over rule of the Roman Empire, ushering in what's become known as the Third Roman Persecution around the end of Evaristus' papacy. Since it was mostly Christians he was persecuting, it goes without saying that they didn't like him much.
Coming Monday....Pope St. Alexander I
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Friday, January 6 at 2:00AM