Saint of the Day ~ July 28

SAINT VICTOR I (?-199), pope and martyr

Today, the Church honors Saint Victor I, the 13th successor to Saint Peter, who was pope from the years 189 to 199.

Victor was the first African pope, coming from one of the Roman provinces of Africa. He is known for having obtained the release of Christians who had been deported to the mines of Sardinia.

During his pontificate, he is most renowned for decreeing that Easter be universally celebrated on a Sunday. Internal dissensions during this era affected the Church at Rome, and the dispute over the celebration of Easter grew more acute.

The Christians who were residing in Rome, and who had come from the province of Asia, were accustomed to observing Easter on the 14th day of Nisan, which is the seventh month of the civil year in the Jewish calendar, usually falling within March and April.

This difference inevitably led to some difficulties, so Pope Victor decided to bring about unity in the observance of the Easter Solemnity. His decree did not sit well with some of the Eastern bishops; but, over time, the Roman practice in the observance of Easter on Sunday gradually became universal.

Pope Victor is also known as the first Vicar of Christ to celebrate the liturgy and write Church documents in Latin rather than Greek. Saint Jerome refers to him as the first Latin writer in the Church, but only his letters concerning Easter have survived to the present day.

According to unconfirmed tradition, Pope Victor I died a martyr’s death in the year 199 during the reign of the Roman emperor, Septimius Severus.

We commemorate his feastday on July 28.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Pastors ~ pope)

“All-powerful and Ever-living God, You called Saint Victor to guide Your people by his word and example. With him, we pray to You: watch over the pastors of Your Church with the people entrusted to their care, and lead them to salvation.

“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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