17. St. Urban I 222-230

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Roman born Bishop Urban’s time in office was initially a peaceful one,but it would not last. Following the murder of Roman Emperor Elagabalus,the next Emperor was Alexander Severus,and he was fairly open minded to Christianity(his mom liked Christians…..awwww).The Catholic Church saw much growth during this time of relative freedom and Urban was a strong leader that converted hundreds of Romans. During his papacy,Urban issued a Papal decree concerning donations of the faithful during Mass,stating that donations “only be used for ecclesiastical purposes,for the common good of the Christian community,and for the poor”.

The Emperor didn’t mind the Christians,but they still had to fear the suspicious locals and evil politicians. A governor named Almachius arrested Urban and several of his priests and proceeded to beat and torture them demanding the treasury of the Church. Urban replied “I see now that covetousness moves you more to persecute the Christians than does the sacrifice of your Gods”. Almachius dragged Urban before a statue of a Roman idol and told him to engage in a pagan sacrifice. Urban spit at the idol(YES!),made the sign of the cross on his forehead and prayed to the one true God.Suddenly the statue toppled over and killed several pagan priests. Urban was then beheaded,but damn,what an incredible way to go out. I’m sure he held his head high before it was taken off. Urban was buried in the Catacomb of Callixtus and his feast day is held on May 25th.

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