Today is the feast day of Saint Hyginus, Pope. Ora pro nobis.
According to the “Liber Pontificalis”, Hyginus was a Greek by birth. Not much is known about this saint. Reigned about 138-142; succeeded Pope Telesphorus, who, according to Eusebius (Hist. eccl., IV, xv), died during the first year of the reign of the Emperor Antonius Pius – in 138 or 139, therefore. Irenaeus says (Adv. haereses, III, iii) that the Gnostic Valentine came to Rome in Hyginus’s time, remaining there until Anicetus became pontiff. Cerdo, another Gnostic and predecessor of Marcion, also lived at Rome in the reign of Hyginus; by confessing his errors and recanting he succeeded in obtaining readmission into the bosom of the Church, but eventually he fell back into the heresies and was expelled from the Church.
The “Liber Pontificalis” also relates that this pope organized the hierachy and established the order of ecclesiastical precedence (Hic clerum composuit et distribuit gradus). Eusebius (Hist. eccl. IV, xvi) claims that Hyginus’s pontificate lasted four years. The ancient authorities contain no information as to his having died a martyr. At his death he was buried on the Vatican Hill, near the tomb of St. Peter. His feast is celebrated on 11 January. (1,2)
Image: Portraits of Pope Hyginus in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Rome (3)
Research by ED Masters, REGINA Staff