17 Apr Saint Anicetus, Pope, Martyr
Today is the feast day of Pope Saint Anicetus. Ora pro nobis.
Saint Anicetus, the eleventh successor of Saint Peter, succeeded to Saint Pius I and reigned for eleven years. During that time he had to combat in particular the dangerous errors of gnosticism, Christ's ancient enemy, already rampant in the days when Saint John the Apostle wrote his letters to the churches of Asia. Saint Anicetus was visited in Rome by Saint Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who desired to consult with him, and whom he in turn asked to celebrate the feast of Easter in the Church of Rome, as Saint Ireneus, Polycarp's disciple, relates. They had not been able to find a solution to the question of a difference in the date of Easter in the Orient and the Occident, which Pope Saint Victor would later settle, but remained close friends. Saint Anicetus' vigilance protected his flock from the wiles of the false preachers Valentine and Marcion, who were attempting to corrupt the faith in the capital of the empire.
St. Anicetus is said to have been a Syrian.
Image: The Martyrdom of Pope Anicetus, frescoes by Antonio Circignani, called Pomarancio
Chapel of Sant'Aniceto e Beata Vergine della Clemenza, Palazzo Altemps, Roma (4)
Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff