Popes in a Year
#44 - Pope St. Sixtus III
Pope from 432-440 A.D.
Died: 440 A.D.
Give me the scoop on Sixtus III.
St. Sixtus III was elected pope on July 31, 432, but prior to his accession was prominent among his fellow clergymen in Rome. Sixtus apparently corresponded regularly with St. Augustine, with the latter writing to Sixtus multiple times -- first worried that Sixtus sided with the Pelagian heresy, then being relieved at Sixtus’ orthodoxy and instructing him on how best to deal with the pesky heretics. This valuable education extended into Sixtus’ papacy, helping him deal with many of those same issues. Sixtus III died on August 18, 440 and his feast day is celebrated March 28.
What was he known for?
To Sixtus III we can credit many valuable restorations of some of Rome’s key churches. He undertook restorations to the basilicas of St. Lawrence and St. Paul, as well as the catacomb of St. Callixtus -- which, you’ll remember, was the burial place of many early popes. However, his most prominent was the restoration of the Liberian Basilica, the one which later became known as the Basilica of St. Mary Major. His beautification of that particular church was a physical representation of his support for Mary being known as
(“God-bearer”), a belief that was affirmed just before his papacy, in 431 at the Council of Ephesus.
St. Sixtus was the first pope to have a name shared by two of his predecessors and bear the suffix “The Third.” Oddly enough, however, the next “Sixtus” wouldn’t come around for more than 1,000 years.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In 434, Attila the Hun consolidated his power near what is now Budapest, Hungary in order to more efficiently rule his empire.
Coming tomorrow....Pope St. Leo the Great
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Pope St. Sixtus III -
Zuhlsdorf, J - “St. Pope Sixtus III: fascinating correspondence with Augustine” - LINK
Pope Sixtus III -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Thursday, March 2 at 2:00AM