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ST. SIXTUS I

ca. 115 - 125 AD

According to the "Liber Pontificalis" St. Sixtus was a Roman, the son of Pastor. He ruled the Church in the time of Emperor Hadrian. Pope Sixtus I decreed that the sacred vessels should not be touched except by the clergy. This is one of several ordinances attributed to the early popes regarding the sacredness of the ceremonial vessels. Sixtus also decreed that a bishop who had been summoned to Rome should not be received by his people when he returned until he presented the letter of greeting from the Apostolic See. Another very interesting ordinance attributed to Pope Sixtus I is the one which orders the priest after the preface to sing the Sanctus with the people. This is truly a beautiful prayer, "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts. The heavens and earth are filled with Thy glory, Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He Who cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest." Since it is found in all the early liturgies, Duchesne concludes that it quite probably dates back to the time of Sixtus I and even earlier.

Pope St. Sixtus I was martyred, but there are no available details of his death. He was buried on the Vatican near St. Peter. Pope Clement X gave some relics of St. Sixtus I to the well-known seventeenth century French Cardinal de Retz. He put them in the Abbey of St. Michael in Lorraine.

The feast of Pope St. Sixtus I is kept on April 6.


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