9. St. Hyginus 138-142


Previously a Greek philosopher,Hyginus established the early Ecclesiastical hierarchy of the Church, which has now gone on to include Bishop of Rome at the top,then Cardinal,then Cardinal-Bishop,then Cardinal Presbyter,then Cardinal Protopresbyter,then Cardinal Deacon,well,you get the picture. Lots of Cardinals. He was named for Hygieia,the Greek goddess of health. A later Pope,John II(The 56th Pope),was the first Pope to adopt a new name because his birth name was Mercurius and he didn’t want to share the name of a pagan god when he was the leader of the Christian Church. I’m not sure if Hyginus had the same thoughts,but during his time when being a Christian could get you executed,it was probably best to fly low under the radar of the Emperor of Rome and not insult him or his gods and goddesses,something John II didn’t have to worry about when he changed his name. His feast day is January 11th and three letters written by him are known to have survived.


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