24. St. Sixtus II 257-258

Sixtus II

St. Sixtus was a kind and thoughtful man from Greece. He was elected in the hopes of restoring peace throughout the fractured Church after many years of in-fighting,which he did successfully during his short term. Roman Emperor Valerian was everything that our Pope was not. A vile,and hateful human being,Valerian waged immediate war against Christianity and ordered that any Bishops,Priests or Deacons caught performing a Mass was to be put to death. On August 6th 258,St. Sixtus was performing a secret Mass in the chapel of the cemetery of Praextextatus when Roman soldiers arrived on the scene. Fearing for the Bishop,the entire congregation tried to shield St.Sixtus and help him escape,but Sixtus wouldn’t leave. He wouldn’t leave his people in the hands of the Romans. He and his six Deacons stood their ground and volunteered themselves so the congregation could escape unharmed. They were all beheaded on the spot. Sixtus’ faith in Christ and his faith in what he was doing nevered wavered and he and his Deacons gladly accepted their martyrdom. He was buried in the Catacomb of Callixtus and the following inscription on his tomb can still be read today.
“At the time when the sword pierced the bowels of the Mother, I, buried here, taught as Pastor the Word of God; when suddenly the soldiers rushed in and dragged me from the chair. The faithful offered their necks to the sword, but as soon as the Pastor saw the ones who wished to rob him of the palm (of martyrdom) he was the first to offer himself and his own head, not tolerating that the (pagan) frenzy should harm the others. Christ, who gives recompense, made manifest the Pastor’s merit, preserving unharmed the flock.”

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