60. Pope Pelagius I 556-561


Born to a wealthy and noble Roman family,Pope Pelagius was the second of the Popes handpicked by the emperor of Constantinople. The previous Pope had been slowly tortured by emperor Justinian into accepting heretical positions. The new Pope decided to go along in order to get along. Pelagius himself did not believe in these heretical ideas and the Christians of Rome were not made to change their beliefs. Pelagius agreed to support Justinian in order to bring about peace and maybe get Justinian’s troops out of Rome. Rome had been the battleground for both the soldiers of Constantinople and of the Goth King of Italy. As a result,it was devastated by the fighting,which left many people homeless in the aftermath of the destruction. Pelagius hoped his compromise could help bring about peace to Rome,but instead it alienated him from the Romans,who thought he had sold out,and it alienated him from northern Italy and Gaul(present day France),who thought he was the puppet of Constantinople’s emperor. No matter. Pope Pelagius put his head down and went to work. Pelagius did his best to generate future revenue for the Church,root out abuses in the clergy and used his OWN vast fortune to build homes and clothe and feed the poor in Rome and various other lands. Pope Pelagius was known as the “Father of the poor and of his country”. He is buried in St.Peter’s basilica.
I tried to get fancy with this Pope’s picture and I inadvertently made it look like he’s made out of chocolate. D’oh! Oh well,just in time for Easter I guess…….

8. St. Telesphorus 125-137


St. Teleshorus was a anchorite before journeying into Rome. I know,I had to look up the word “anchorite” too; it means recluse or hermit. The discipline he learned as a religious recluse no doubt contributed to his issuing a keeping of a seven week lent before Easter. He was one of the first priests to celebrate Easter on a Sunday and the tradition of Midnight Mass was also believed to be started under his Pontificate. He was martyred instead of paying tribute under law to the pagan gods of Rome and he was buried on Vatican Hill close to St. Peter. He is the patron saint of The Order of Carmelites because he was believed to have lived as a hermit on Mt. Carmel in Israel. Giving up chocolate for Lent? Just remember the name Telesphorus,because you’re most likely using your smart (tele)phone to gaze longingly at pictures of cake.