40. Pope St. Innocent I 401-417

Innocent

BARBARIANS AT THE GATES!! Literally. There were barbarians at the gates of Rome as the city was invaded by Visigoths led by King Alaric I in the year 408. This was the first time in 800 years that Rome had been defeated by a foreign enemy and this was the beginning of the end of the Roman empire. The fall of Rome correlated with the rise of the Papacy in status and power and Pope Innocent was just the man to take the reins and assert his authority over his city and his fellow Christians. A seemingly energetic man with a love of being Pope(and the prestige that came with it),he had a solid papacy where he successfully combated heresies and settled Church matters from Africa to Greece. Innocent was in the new Roman capital of Ravenna to help with talks of peace with the Visigoths when talks fell through and the invasion commenced. He wasn’t able to safely return to Rome for nearly two years. Miraculously,most Christian sites such as St. Peter’s were left undisturbed during the horrible sack of Rome. Innocent died of natural causes and he was buried above the catacomb of Pontianus. His feast day is on March 12th.

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