by M. J. Joachim
Turmoil and heresy appear to be the themes of Pope Hyginus’s reign. Christianity was beginning to make its move to center around Rome. Cerdo and Gnostic Valentinus were posing severe challenges, to the point that Cerdo was actually excommunicated from the Church, for denying Christ and claiming there were two gods – one good, the other cruel.
Gnostic Valentinus was on a Christian path, when by all accounts, he started his own spiritual movement, “Valentinus was one of the most influential Gnostic Christian teachers of the second century A.D. He founded a movement which spread throughout Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Despite persecution by the Catholic Church, the Valentinian School endured for over 600 years.” (The Gnostic Society Library)
Philosophy also seems to be a huge theme during Pope Hyginus’s pontificate. He himself was considered a philosopher, “Hyginus was a Greek from Athens with a background in philosophy. (Lives of the Popes, McBrien) By all accounts, it is implied that Hyginus philosophical background influenced his leadership in the Catholic Church, during its early years and formation.
Dates of Hyginus’s papacy are unclear, though, for the sake of clarity, records state he was pope from 138 – 142. Claims that he was a martyr are also disputed. Some records indicate he was a martyr and is buried near St. Peter’s tomb, while others say there is little or no evidence to back this up.
Pope Hyginus is listed as a saint in the Catholic Church. His feast day is January 11.
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Photo credit: St. Hyginus, Bocachete, Public Domain
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