Pope Soter (Latin: Soterius; died c. 174) was the Bishop of Rome from c. 167 to his death c. 174. According to the Annuario Pontificio, the dates may have ranged from 162–168 to 170–177. He was born in Fondi, Campania, today Lazio region, Italy. Soter is known for declaring that marriage was valid only as a sacrament blessed by a priest and also for formally inaugurating Easter as an annual festival in Rome. His name, from Greek Σωτήριος from σωτήρ "saviour", would be his baptismal name, as his lifetime predates the tradition of adopting papal names.
|Papacy began||c. 167|
|Born||Fondi, Campania, Roman Empire|
Rome, Roman Empire
|Feast day||22 April|
Saint Soter's feast day is celebrated on 22 April, as is that of Saint Caius. The Roman Martyrology, the official list of recognized saints, references Soter: "At Rome, Saint Soter, Pope, whom Dionysius of Corinth praises for his outstanding charity towards needy exiled Christians who came to him, and towards those who had been condemned to the mines."
It has often been supposed that all the earliest Popes suffered martyrdom, but the Roman Martyrology does not give Pope Soter the title of martyr. The book detailing the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar states: "There are no grounds for including Saint Soter and Saint Caius among the martyrs."
The Montanist movement, which originated in Asia Minor, made its way to Rome and Gaul in the second half of the 2nd century, during the reign of Eleuterus. Its nature did not diverge so much from the orthodoxy of the time for it to initially be labeled heresy. During the violent persecution at Lyon, in 177, local confessors wrote from their prison concerning the new movement to the Asiatic and Phrygian communities as well as to Pope Eleuterus. The bearer of their letter to the pope was the presbyter Irenaeus, soon to become Bishop of Lyon. It appears from statements of Eusebius concerning these letters that the Christians of Lyon, though opposed to the Montanist movement, advocated patience and pleaded for the preservation of ecclesiastical unity.
When the Roman church took its definite stand against Montanism is not precisely known. Tertullian records that a Roman bishop sent some conciliatory letters to the Montanists, but based on the complaints of Praxeas "concerning the prophets themselves and their churches, and by insistence on the decisions of the bishop's predecessors" forced the pontiff to recall these letters. Another ancient source states that "Holy Soter, Pope of the City, wrote against them a book, as did the master, Apollonius of Ephesus. Against these wrote the priest Tertullian of Carthage, who "in all ways wrote well, wrote first and wrote incomparably, in this alone did reprehensibly, that he defended Montanus". At Rome, the Gnostics and Marcionites continued to preach against the Catholic Church.
|Titles of the Great Christian Church|
| Bishop of Rome
The 160s decade ran from January 1, 160, to December 31, 169.166
Year 166 (CLXVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Pudens and Pollio (or, less frequently, year 919 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 166 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.170s
The 170s decade ran from January 1, 170, to December 31, 179.174
Year 174 (CLXXIV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Gallus and Flaccus (or, less frequently, year 927 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 174 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.175
Year 175 (CLXXV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Piso and Iulianus (or, less frequently, year 928 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 175 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.April 22
April 22 is the 112th day of the year (113th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 253 days remain until the end of the year.Christmas
Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ observed on December 25. as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.
The traditional Christmas narrative, the Nativity of Jesus, delineated in the New Testament says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with messianic prophecies. When Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn had no room and so they were offered a stable where the Christ Child was soon born, with angels proclaiming this news to shepherds who then further disseminated the information.Although the month and date of Jesus' birth are unknown, the church in the early fourth century fixed the date as December 25. This corresponds to the date of the solstice on the Roman calendar. Most Christians celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, which has been adopted almost universally in the civil calendars used in countries throughout the world. However, some Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas on December 25 of the older Julian calendar, which currently corresponds to a January date in the Gregorian calendar. For Christians, the belief that God came into the world in the form of man to atone for the sins of humanity, rather than the exact birth date, is considered to be the primary purpose in celebrating Christmas.The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath, Christmas music and caroling, lighting a Christingle, viewing a Nativity play, an exchange of Christmas cards, church services, a special meal, pulling Christmas crackers and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth
Saint Dionysius was the bishop of Corinth in about the year 171. His feast day is commemorated on April 8.
The date is established by the fact that he wrote to Pope St Soter. Eusebius in his Chronicle placed his "floruit" in the eleventh year of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (171). When Hegesippus was at Corinth in the time of Pope Anicetus, Primus was bishop (about 150-5), while Bacchyllus was Bishop of Corinth at the time of the Paschal controversy (about 190-8). Dionysius is only known to us through Eusebius, for Jerome used no other authority. Eusebius knew a collection of seven of the Catholic Letters to the Churches of Dionysius, together with a letter to him from Pinytus, Bishop of Knossus, and a private letter of spiritual advice to a lady named Chrysophora.
Eusebius mentions (1) a letter to the Lacedaemonians, teaching orthodoxy, and enjoining peace and union. (2) Another letter was to the Athenians, stirring up their faith exhorting them to live according to the Gospel, since they were not far from apostasy. Dionysius spoke of the recent martyrdom of their bishop, Publius (in the persecution of Marcus Aurelius), and says that Dionysius the Areopagite was the first Bishop of Athens. (3) To the Nicomedians he wrote against Marcionism. (4) Writing to Gortyna and the other dioceses of Crete, he praised their bishop, Philip, for efforts on behalf of the church then warned him of the distortions of heretics. (5) To the Church of Amastris in Pontus he wrote at the instance of Bacchylides and Elpistus (otherwise unknown), mentioning the bishop's name as Palmas; he wrote in this letter of marriage and celibacy, and recommended the charitable treatment of those who had fallen away into sin or heresy. (6) In a letter to Pinytus, bishop of Knossus, he recommended that he should not lay the yoke of celibacy too heavily on his brethren, but consider the weakness most of them have. Pinytus replied, after polite words, that he hoped Dionysius would send strong meat next time so his people might not grow up on the milk of babes.
But the most important letter is the seventh one, addressed to the Romans, and the only one from which extracts have been preserved. Pope Soter had sent alms and a letter to the Corinthians, and in response Dionysius wrote:
For this has been your custom from the beginning, to do good to all the brethren in many ways, and to send alms to many Churches in different cities, now relieving the poverty of those who asked aid, now assisting the brethren in the mines by the alms you send, Romans keeping up the traditional custom of Romans, which your blessed bishop, Soter, has not only maintained, but has even increased, by affording to the brethren the abundance which he has supplied, and by comforting with blessed words the brethren who came to him, as a father his children.Again:
You also by this instruction have mingled together the Romans and Corinthians who are the planting of Peter and Paul. For they both came to our Corinth and planted us, and taught alike; and alike going to Italy and teaching there, were martyred at the same time.Again:
Today we have kept the holy Lord's day, on which we have read your letter, which we shall ever possess to read and to be admonished, even as the former one written to us through Clement.The witness to the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul, kata ton auton kairon, is of importance, and so is the mention of the Epistle of Clement and the public reading of it. The letter of the pope was written "as a father to his children". Dionysius's own letters were evidently much prized, for in the last extract from this letter he writes that he wrote them by request, and that they have been falsified "by the apostles of the devil". "Small wonder then", he observes, "if some have dared to tamper even with the word of the Lord himself, when they have conspired to mutilate my own humble efforts."Eastern Orthodox opposition to papal supremacy
The Eastern Orthodox Church is opposed to the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy. While not denying that some form of primacy could exist for Rome's bishop, Orthodox Christians argue that the tradition of Rome's primacy in the early Church was not equivalent to the current doctrine of supremacy.Historiography of early Christianity
Historiography of early Christianity is the study of historical writings about early Christianity. Historians have used a variety of sources and methods in exploring and describing the history of early Christianity, commonly known as Christianity before the First Council of Nicaea in 326.
The growth of Christianity and its enhanced status in the Roman Empire after Constantine I led to the development of a distinct Christian historiography, influenced by both Christian theology and the Development of the Christian Biblical canon, encompassing new areas of study and views of history. The central role of the Bible in Christianity is reflected in the preference of Christian historians for written sources, compared to the classical historians' preference for oral sources and is also reflected in the inclusion of politically unimportant people. Christian historians also focused on development of religion and society. This can be seen in the extensive inclusion of written sources in the first Ecclesiastical History written by Eusebius of Caesarea around 324 and in the subjects it covers. Christian theology considered time as linear, progressing according to divine plan. As God's plan encompassed everyone, Christian histories in this period had a universal approach. For example, Christian writers often included summaries of important historical events prior to the period covered by the work.Paul Barnett pointed out that "scholars of ancient history have always recognized the 'subjectivity' factor in their available sources" and "have so few sources available compared to their modern counterparts that they will gladly seize whatever scraps of information that are at hand." He noted that modern history and ancient history are two separate disciplines, with differing methods of analysis and interpretation.Since the 19th-century, historians have learned much more about the early Christian community. Ferdinand Christian Baur applied Hegelian philosophy to church history and described a 2nd-century Christian community fabricating the gospels. Adolf Harnack was the leading expert in patristics, or the study of the Church Fathers, whose writings defined early Christian practice and doctrine. Harnack identified dramatic changes within the Christian Church as it adapted itself to the pagan culture of the Roman Empire. He also claimed early dates for the gospels, granting them serious historical value. Early texts such as the Didache (in 2nd-millennium copies) and the Gospel of Thomas (in two manuscripts dated as early as about 200 and 340) have been rediscovered in the last 200 years. The Didache, from the 1st century, provides insight into the Jewish Christians of the Jerusalem church. The Gospel of Thomas apparently reflects the beliefs of 1st-century, proto-gnostic Christians in Syria.
In the 20th century, scholars became more likely to see early Christian faith and practice as evolving out of the religious beliefs and practices of Second Temple Judaism and Hellenic pagans, rather than standing out in sharp contrast to them. Modern historians have come to accept Jesus' Jewish identity and that of the apostolic church (referred to as Jewish Christianity). The relationship of Paul of Tarsus and Judaism is still disputed. The anti-Jewish Jesus of the gospels is now recognized as a later interpretation, perhaps Marcionite, as are the universalist themes in Acts and Luke. H. G. Wells, in his Outline of History, depicted Jesus as a man and Christianity as a religion of no divine distinction. Scholars such as Walter Bauer and Bart Ehrman have emphasized the diversity of early Christianity, with Proto-orthodox Christianity being one thread, against the traditional account of catholic unanimity.The historical and contextual time of the early church.List of canonised popes
This article lists the Popes who have been canonised or recognised as Saints in the Roman Catholic Church they had led. A total of 83 (out of 266) Popes have been recognised universally as canonised saints, including all of the first 35 Popes (31 of whom were martyrs) and 52 of the first 54. If Pope Liberius is numbered amongst the Saints as in Eastern Christianity, all of the first 49 Popes become recognised as Saints, of whom 31 are Martyr-Saints, and 53 of the first 54 Pontiffs would be acknowledged as Saints. In addition, 13 other Popes are in the process of becoming canonised Saints: as of December 2018, two are recognised as being Servants of God, two are recognised as being Venerable, and nine have been declared Blessed or Beati, making a total of 95 (97 if Pope Liberius and Pope Adeodatus II are recognised to be Saints) of the 266 Roman Pontiffs being recognised and venerated for their heroic virtues and inestimable contributions to the Church.
The most recently reigning Pope to have been canonised was Pope John Paul II, whose cause for canonisation was opened in May 2005. John Paul II was beatified on May 1, 2011, by Pope Benedict XVI and later canonised, along with Pope John XXIII, by Pope Francis on April 27, 2014. Pope Francis also canonised Pope Paul VI on October 14, 2018.List of popes by country
This page is a list of popes by country of origin. They are listed in chronological order within each section.
As the office of pope has existed for almost two millennia, many of the countries of origin of popes no longer exist, and so they are grouped under their modern equivalents. Popes from Italy are in a separate section, given the very large number of popes from that peninsula.List of popes who died violently
A collection of popes who have had violent deaths through the centuries. The circumstances have ranged from martyrdom (Pope Stephen I) to war (Lucius II), to a beating by a jealous husband (Pope John XII). A number of other popes have died under circumstances that some believe to be murder, but for which definitive evidence has not been found.Pope Eleutherius
Pope Eleutherius (died 189), also known as Eleutherus, was the Bishop of Rome from c. 174 to his death. (The Vatican cites 171 or 177 to 185 or 193.) According to the Liber Pontificalis, he was a Greek born in Nicopolis in Epirus, Greece. His contemporary Hegesippus wrote that he was a deacon of the Roman Church under Pope Anicetus (c. 154–164), and remained so under Pope Soter, whom he succeeded around 174.Saint Peter
Saint Peter (Syriac: ܫܸܡܥܘܿܢ ܟܹ݁ܐܦ݂ܵܐ, Šemʿōn Kēp̄ā; Hebrew: שמעון בר יונה Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; Greek: Πέτρος, translit. Petros; Coptic: ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ, romanized: Petros; Latin: Petrus; r. AD 30; died between AD 64 and 68), also known as Simon Peter, Simeon, Simon (, pronunciation ), Cephas, or Peter the Apostle, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, and the first leader of the early Church.
According to Christian tradition, Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero. He is traditionally counted as the first Bishop of Rome—or pope—and also by Eastern Christian tradition as the first Patriarch of Antioch. The ancient Christian churches all venerate Peter as a major saint and as the founder of the Church of Antioch and the Roman Church, but differ in their attitudes regarding the authority of his present-day successors (the primacy of the Bishop of Rome). According to Catholic teaching, in Matthew 16:18 Jesus promised Peter a special position in the Church.
Two general epistles in the New Testament are ascribed to Peter, but modern scholars generally reject the Petrine authorship of both. The Gospel of Mark was traditionally thought to show the influence of Peter's preaching and eyewitness memories. Several other books bearing his name—the Acts of Peter, Gospel of Peter, Preaching of Peter, Apocalypse of Peter, and Judgment of Peter—are considered by Christian denominations as apocryphal, and are thus not included in their Bible canons.Saint Peter's tomb
Saint Peter's tomb is a site under St. Peter's Basilica that includes several graves and a structure said by Vatican authorities to have been built to memorialize the location of Saint Peter's grave. St. Peter's tomb is near the west end of a complex of mausoleums that date between about AD 130 and AD 300. The complex was partially torn down and filled with earth to provide a foundation for the building of the first St. Peter's Basilica during the reign of Constantine I in about AD 330. Though many bones have been found at the site of the 2nd-century shrine, as the result of two campaigns of archaeological excavation, Pope Pius XII stated in December 1950 that none could be confirmed to be Saint Peter's with absolute certainty. Following the discovery of bones that had been transferred from a second tomb under the monument, on June 26, 1968, Pope Paul VI claimed that the relics of Saint Peter had been identified in a manner considered convincing.The grave claimed by the Church to be that of Saint Peter lies at the foot of the aedicula beneath the floor. The remains of four individuals and several farm animals were found in this grave. In 1953, after the initial archeological efforts had been completed, another set of bones were found that were said to have been removed without the archeologists' knowledge from a niche (loculus) in the north side of a wall (the graffiti wall) that abuts the red wall on the right of the aedicula. Subsequent testing indicated that these were the bones of a 60- to 70-year-old man. Margherita Guarducci argued that these were the remains of Saint Peter and that they had been moved into a niche in the graffiti wall from the grave under the aedicula "at the time of Constantine, after the peace of the church" (313). Antonio Ferrua, the archaeologist who headed the excavation that uncovered what is known as Saint Peter's Tomb, said that he wasn't convinced that the bones that were found were those of Saint Peter.The upper image shows the area of the lower floor of St. Peter's Basilica that lies above the site of Saint Peter's tomb. A portion of the aedicula that was part of Peter's tomb rose above level of this floor and was made into the Niche of the Pallium which can be seen in the center of the image.Soter
Soter derives from the Greek epithet σωτήρ (sōtēr), meaning a saviour, a deliverer; initial capitalised Σωτήρ; fully capitalised ΣΩΤΗΡ; feminine Soteria (Σωτηρία).
Soter has been used as:
as a title of gods: Poseidon Soter, Zeus Soter, Dionysus Soter, Apollo Soter, Athena Soteria, Asclepius Soteri, and Hecate Soteria.
as the name of a distinct mythical figure, Soter (daimon)
any heroized or deified leaders of Hellenistic dynasties, see Hellenistic ruler cult:
Antigonus Monophthalmus, awarded the title for liberating Athens from Cassander
Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt (reigned 323-283 BCE)
Antiochus I Soter of the Seleucid Empire (reigned 281-261 BCE)
Demetrius I Soter of the Seleucid Empire (reigned 161-150 BCE)
Polyxenos Epiphanes Soter
Rabbel II Soter
Seleucus III Ceraunus
as a title of liberators (see also eleutherios (disambiguation)
a title of Jesus of Nazareth, most particularly in the fish acronym
Pope Soter, r. ca. 167-174.
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
|History of the papacy|