Pope Urban I

Pope Urban I (Latin: Urbanus I) was Bishop of Rome or Pope from 222 to 23 May 230.[1] He was born in Rome and succeeded Pope Callixtus I, who had been martyred. It was previously believed for centuries that Urban I was also martyred. However, recent historical discoveries now lead scholars to believe that he died of natural causes.

Pope Saint

Urban I
Pope Urban I
Papacy began222
Papacy ended23 May 230
PredecessorCallixtus I
Personal details
Birth nameUrban
Rome, Roman Empire
Died23 May 230[1]
Rome, Roman Empire
Feast day25 May
Other popes named Urban


Much of Urban's life is shrouded in mystery, leading to many myths and misconceptions. Despite the lack of sources he is the first Pope whose reign can be definitely dated.[2] Two prominent sources do exist for Urban's pontificate: Eusebius' history of the early Church and also an inscription in the Coemeterium Callisti which names the Pope.[1]

Urban ascended to the Chair of Saint Peter in the year of the Roman Emperor Elagabalus' assassination and served during the reign of Alexander Severus. It is believed that Urban's pontificate was during a peaceful time for Christians in the Empire as Severus did not promote the persecution of Christianity.[1]

Urban is a saint of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.


It is believed that the schismatic Hippolytus was still leading a rival Christian congregation in Rome, and that he published the Philosophumena, an attack on Pope Urban's predecessor Callixtus.[3] Urban is said to have maintained the hostile policy of Callixtus when dealing with the schismatic party.[1]

Due to the relative freedoms the Christian community had during Severus' reign the Church in Rome grew, leading to the belief that Urban was a skilled converter.[3] A Papal decree concerning the donations of the faithful at Mass is attributed to Pope Urban:

The gifts of the faithful that are offered to the Lord can only be used for ecclesiastical purposes, for the common good of the Christian community, and for the poor; for they are the consecrated gifts of the faithful, the atonement offering of sinners, and the patrimony of the needy.[4]


It had been believed that he was buried in the Coemetarium Praetextati where a tomb was inscribed with his name. However, when excavating the Catacomb of Callixtus Italian archaeologist Giovanni de Rossi uncovered the lid of a sarcophagus which suggested that Pope Urban was in fact buried there. De Rossi also found a list of martyrs and confessors who were buried at St. Callistus', which contained Urban's name. De Rossi therefore concluded that the Urban buried in the Coemetarium Praetextati was another bishop and Pope Urban was located in Catacomb of St. Callistus. While many historians accept this opinion, doubt remains since Pope Sixtus III's list of saints buried in St. Callistus' Catacomb does not include Urban in the succession of Popes but rather in a list of foreign bishops. Therefore, it is possible that Pope Urban is indeed buried in the Coemetarium Praetextati.[3][5]

His relic is located in Hungary in the Monok Roman Catholic Church. In 1773 XIV. Pope Clement (1769-74) donated it to the Andrássy family.

Legends and myths

Św Urban figura Cieszowa 254
Pope Urban wearing the Papal Tiara

As no contemporary accounts of Urban's pontificate exist there have been many legends and acts attributed to him which are fictitious or difficult to ascertain the factual nature of. The legendary Acts of St. Cecilia and the Liber Pontificalis both contain information on Urban, although of doubtable accuracy. Chaucer had him a character in his Second Nun's Tale in the Canterbury Tales.

A story that was once included in the Catholic Church's Breviary states that Saint Urban had many converts among whom were Tiburtius and his brother Valerianus, husband of Saint Cecilia. Tradition credits Saint Urban with the miracle of toppling an idol through prayer.[6] This event is believed to have led to Saint Urban being beaten and tortured before being sentenced to death by beheading.

A further belief, now known as an invention from the sixth century, was that Urban had ordered the making of silver liturgical vessels and the patens for twenty-five titular churches of his own time.


Urban is found in various pieces of artwork usually in one of two forms. Often he is found sitting wearing the Papal Tiara, Papal robes and holding a sword pointed towards the ground. Otherwise Urban may be portrayed wearing Papal garb and a Bishop's Mitre while holding a bible and a bunch of grapes.[7][8] An image of Pope Saint Urbanus (or Urban/Urbain) is on a 12th-century fresco at Chalivoy-Milon in the Berry Art Gallery.[9]

Other less common depictions of Pope Urban are:

  • after his beheading, with the papal tiara near him.
  • as idols fall from a column while he is beheaded;
  • scourged at the stake;
  • seated in a landscape as a young man (Saint Valerian) kneels before him and a priest holds a book.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Kirsch, Johann Peter (1912). "Pope Urban I" in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. ^ Kung, Hans. The Catholic Church: A Short History. New York; The Modern Library, 2003, p. 41
  3. ^ a b c PD-icon.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Urban I". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  4. ^ Roman Breviary
  5. ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 124
  6. ^ Roman Breviary: Saint Urban began to make his orison to God; and anon the idol fell down and slew twenty-two priests of the law that held fire for to make sacrifice.
  7. ^ Portrait of Urban Archived 14 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Portrait of Urban Archived 14 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Image of Pope Saint Urbanus Archived 20 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Callixtus I
Bishop of Rome

Succeeded by

Year 230 (CCXXX) 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 Agricola and Clementinus (or, less frequently, year 983 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 230 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.


The 230s decade ran from January 1, 230, to December 31, 239.

== Events ==

=== 230 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Alexander Severus decides that Thessaly should be a separate province from Macedonia. He increases taxes in order to maintain the war against the Sassanids and strengthen the defenses of the Roman Empire.

====== Persia ======

King Ardashir I, ruler of the Persian Empire, invades the Roman province of Mesopotamia and unsuccessfully besieges the fortress town of Nisibis (Turkey). His army threatens the border outposts of Syria and Cappadocia.

Alexander Severus assembles the Roman army and establishes his headquarters at Antioch. He attempts a diplomatic solution, but the Persians decline and choose war.

====== Korea ======

Jobun becomes king of the Korean kingdom of Silla.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

July 21 – Pope Pontian succeeds Pope Urban I as the eighteenth pope.

Patriarch Castinus succeeds Patriarch Ciriacus I as Patriarch of Constantinople.

Seventy Bishops hold the Council of the Christian Church of Africa.

=== 231 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Alexander Severus accompanies his mother Julia Mamaea to Syria and campaigns against the Persians. Military command rests in the hands of his generals, but his presence gives additional weight to the empire's policy.

====== China ======

Battle of Mount Qi between the Chinese states of Shu Han and Cao Wei

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Origen, disciple of Ammonius Saccas, founder of Neoplatonism, is exiled in Caesarea.

=== 232 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Roman–Persian Wars: Emperor Alexander Severus launches a three-pronged counterattack against the Persian forces of king Ardashir I, who have invaded Mesopotamia. However, the Roman army advancing through Armenia is halted. Alexander gives the order to march to the capital at Ctesiphon, but the Romans are defeated and withdraw to Syria. The result is an acceptance of the status quo and after heavy losses on both sides, a truce is signed.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Relics of St. Thomas are brought to Edessa from India.

Origen founds a school of Christian theology in Palestine.

Pope Heraclas of Alexandria is the first Bishop of Alexandria to use the appellation of "Pope".

=== 233 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Alexander Severus celebrates a triumph in Rome to observe his "victory" the previous year over the Persians. In reality Severus Alexander advanced towards Ctesiphon in 233, but as corroborated by Herodian, his armies suffered a humiliating defeat against Ardashir I.He is soon summoned to the Rhine frontier, where the Alamanni invade what is now modern day Swabia. German tribes destroy Roman forts and plunder the countryside at the Limes Germanicus.

=== 234 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Alexander Severus and his mother Julia Mamaea move to Moguntiacum (modern Mainz), the capital of Germania Superior. His generals have planned a military offensive and built a bridge across the Rhine. Alexander prefers to negotiate for peace by buying off the Alemanni. This policy outrages the Roman legions and he loses the trust of the troops.

====== China ======

Battle of Wuzhang Plains between the Chinese states of Shu Han and Cao Wei

====== Korea ======

Saban becomes king of the Korean kingdom of Baekje. He is succeeded by Goi of Baekje later in the same year.

=== 235 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Said to have been the beginning of the decline of the Roman empire.

March 19 – Emperor Alexander Severus and his mother Iulia Mamaea are murdered by their own soldiers near Moguntiacum (modern Mainz); Legio XXII Primigenia mutinies. The Severan dynasty ends. This marks the epoch event of the Crisis of the Third Century.

March 20 – Maximinus Thrax, age 62, is proclaimed Augustus. He is not a senator but the second emperor of the equestrian order since Macrinus 17 years earlier. Maximinus had been a common soldier in the army, serving in the Auxilia and the Imperial Horseguards to become governor of several provinces.

Widely considered to be the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century: The Roman Empire is under pressure by the Alamanni, Franks, Goths, Quadi and Sassanids (Persia).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

September 28 – Pope Pontian resigns, the first to abdicate, because he and Hippolytus, church leader of Rome, are exiled to the mines of Sardinia. Emperor Maximinus persecutes the Christians.

November 21 – Pope Anterus succeeds Pontian as the nineteenth pope.

Origen makes revisions to the Septuagint.

=== 236 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Maximinus Thrax and Marcus Pupienus Africanus Maximus become Roman consuls.

The Roman Senate appoints a twenty-man committee to co-ordinate operations against Maximinus.

Maximinus campaigns against Dacians and Sarmatians from his supply depot at Sirmium.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

January 10 – Pope Fabian succeeds Pope Anterus as the twentieth pope.

Fabian separates Rome into seven deaconships.

Fabian sends seven missionaries to Gaul to evangelize in the large cities.

=== 237 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Maximinus Thrax campaigns on the rivers Danube and Rhine in Germania, defeating the Alemanni and never visits Rome. He is accepted by the Roman Senate, but taxes the rich aristocracy heavily and engenders such hostility among them that they plot against him.

====== Persia ======

King Ardashir I of Persia renews his attacks on the Roman province of Mesopotamia.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Patriarch Eugenius I succeeds Patriarch Castinus as Patriarch of Constantinople.

Saint Babylas becomes Patriarch of Antioch.

=== 238 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Maximinus Thrax campaigns against the Carpians on the Danube in Moesia (Balkans). In spite of the payment of a tribute, the Romans fail to persuade the Goths and the Germanic tribes.

March 22 – Roman subjects in Africa revolt against Maximinus. The elderly Marcus Antonius Gordianus yields to public demand that he succeed Maximinus and rules jointly with his 46-year-old son Gordian II.

April 12 – Battle of Carthage: Numidian forces loyal to Maximinus invade Africa with support of Legio III Augusta. Gordian II is killed and after a siege of 36 days, Gordian I commits suicide by hanging himself with his belt.

April 22 – Year of the Six Emperors: The Senate outlaws Maximinus for his bloodthirsty proscriptions in Ancient Rome and nominates two of its members, Pupienus and Balbinus, to the throne.

Maximinus advances to the town Aquileia in northern Italy; his army suffers from famine and disease, while the city is besieged. Soldiers of Legio II Parthica kill him in his tent, along with his son Maximinus (who is appointed co-emperor). Their corpses are decapitated and their heads carried to Rome.

July 29 – The Praetorian Guard storms the palace and captures Pupienus and Balbinus. They are dragged naked through the streets of Rome and executed. On the same day Gordian III, age 13, is proclaimed the new emperor. Timesitheus becomes his tutor and advisor.

Future Roman Emperor Valerian becomes princeps senatus.

The Colosseum is restored after being damaged.

The Goths, coming from Ukraine, cross the Danube and devastate the Roman Empire up to the border with Anatolia.

In North Africa, Legio III Augusta is dissolved. Until its reconstitution in 253, Africa is defended by auxiliary forces only.

====== China ======

Sima Yi, a Chinese general of the Cao Wei state, destroys the outlying northeastern warlord Gongsun Yuan in the Liaodong campaign.

==== By topic ====

====== Commerce ======

The silver content of the Roman denarius falls to 28 percent under emperor Gordianus III, down from 35 percent under Alexander Severus.

=== 239 ===

==== By place ====

====== China ======

Cao Fang succeeds his adoptive father Cao Rui as the emperor of the Cao Wei state in the Three Kingdoms period of China.

A Chinese expeditionary force from the Eastern Wu state discovers the island of Taiwan.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Origen publishes the Old Testament in five languages.

Catacomb of Callixtus

The Catacomb(s) of Callixtus (also known as the Cemetery of Callixtus) is one of the Catacombs of Rome on the Appian Way, most notable for containing the Crypt of the Popes (Italian: Cappella dei Papi), which once contained the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries.

Hippolytus of Rome

Hippolytus (c. 170–235 AD) was one of the most important second-third century Christian theologians, whose provenance, identity and corpus remain elusive to scholars and historians. Suggested communities include Palestine, Egypt, Anatolia, Rome and regions of the mideast. The best historians of literature in the ancient church, including Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome, openly confess they cannot name where Hippolytus the biblical commentator and theologian served in leadership. They had read his works but did not possess evidence of his community. Photios I of Constantinople describes him in his Bibliotheca (cod. 121) as a disciple of Irenaeus, who was said to be a disciple of Polycarp, and from the context of this passage it is supposed that he suggested that Hippolytus so styled himself. This assertion is doubtful. One older theory asserts he came into conflict with the popes of his time and seems to have headed a schismatic group as a rival to the Bishop of Rome, thus becoming an Antipope. In this view, he opposed the Roman Popes who softened the penitential system to accommodate the large number of new pagan converts. However, he was reconciled to the Church before he died as a martyr.Starting in the fourth century, various legends arose about him, identifying him as a priest of the Novatianist schism or as a soldier converted by Saint Lawrence. He has also been confused with another martyr of the same name. Pope Pius IV identifies him as "Saint Hippolytus, Bishop of Pontus" who was martyred in the reign of Severus Alexander through his inscription on a statue found at the Church of Saint Lawrence in Rome and kept at the Vatican as photographed and published in Brunsen.

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.

Martina of Rome

Martina of Rome was a Roman martyr under emperor Alexander Severus. A patron saint of Rome, she was martyred in 226, according to some authorities, more probably in 228, under the pontificate of Pope Urban I, according to others. Her feast day is January 30.

May 25

May 25 is the 145th day of the year (146th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 220 days remain until the end of the year.

Patrologia Graeca

The Patrologia Graeca (or Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Graeca) is an edited collection of writings by the Christian Church Fathers and various secular writers, in the Greek language. It consists of 161 volumes produced in 1857–1866 by J. P. Migne's Imprimerie Catholique, Paris. It includes both the Eastern Fathers and those Western authors who wrote before Latin became predominant in the Western Church in the 3rd century, e.g. the early writings collectively known as the Apostolic Fathers, such as the First and Second Epistle of Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, Eusebius, Origen, and the Cappadocian Fathers Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa.

The 161 volumes are bound as 166 (vols. 16 and 87 being in three parts and vol. 86 in two). An important final volume, which included some supplements and a full index, was never published, as the plates were destroyed in a fire (1868) at the printer.The first series contained only Latin translations of the originals (81 vols., 1856-61). The second series contains the Greek text with a Latin translation (166 vols., 1857-66). The texts are interlaced, with one column of Greek and a corresponding column on the other side of the page that is the Latin translation. Where the Greek original has been lost, as in the case of Irenaeus, the extant Greek fragments are interspersed throughout the Latin text. In one instance, the original is preserved in Syriac only and translated into Latin. Quite often, information about the author is provided, also in Latin.

A Greek, D. Scholarios, added a half-published list of the authors and subjects, (Athens, 1879) and began a complete table of contents (Athens, 1883). In 1912, Garnier Frères, Paris, published a Patrologia Graeca index volume, edited by Ferdinand Cavallera.

Pope Urban

Pope Urban may refer to one of several people:

Pope Urban I, pope c. 222–230, a Saint

Pope Urban II, pope 1088–1099, the Blessed Pope Urban

Pope Urban III, pope 1185–1187

Pope Urban IV, pope 1261–1264

Pope Urban V, pope 1362–1370, also the Blessed Pope Urban

Pope Urban VI, pope 1378–1389

Pope Urban VII, pope 1590, had the shortest recognized papal reign

Pope Urban VIII, pope 1623–1644

Saint-Urbain-Premier, Quebec

Saint-Urbain-Premier is a municipality located southwest of Montreal in the Monteregie region of Quebec, Canada. The population as of the Canada 2011 Census was 1,148. The municipality is named for Pope Urban I, who reigned from 222 to 230AD.

Saint Cecilia

Saint Cecilia (Latin: Sancta Caecilia) is the patroness of musicians. It is written that as the musicians played at her wedding she "sang in her heart to the Lord". Her feast day is celebrated in the Latin Catholic, Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches and in the Anglican Communion on November 22. She is one of seven women, in addition to the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.

While the details of her story are fictional, her existence and martyrdom are considered a historical fact. She is said to have been beheaded with a sword. An early church, Santa Cecilia, was founded in the 3rd century by Pope Urban I in the Trastevere section of Rome, reputedly on the site of the house in which she lived. A number of musical compositions are dedicated to her, and her feast day has become the occasion for concerts and musical festivals.

Saint Urban (disambiguation)

Saint Urban may refer to:

Pope Urban I, 3rd century Pope

Urban of Langres (327- 390), French bishop

Urban, one of the Martyrs of Zaragoza in 303 CE

St. Urban Tower a Gothic prismatic campanile with a pyramidal roof in Košice, Slovakia.

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is a 5th-century church in Rome, Italy, in the Trastevere rione, devoted to the Roman martyr Saint Cecilia.

Timeline of Armenian history

This is a timeline of Armenian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Armenia and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Armenia. See also the list of Armenian kings.

Urban of Langres

Saint Urban of Langres (327 – ca. 390) was a French saint and bishop. He served as the sixth bishop of Langres from 374 until his death. Saint Leodegaria was his sister.Urban was the bishop of Langres, France, beginning in 374. Legend states that soon after taking his position, political turmoil erupted, and he was driven from his house. St. Urban hid from his persecutors in a vineyard. The vine-dressers in the area concealed him, and he took the opportunity to convert them to Christianity. Those same vine-dressers then helped him in his covert ministry, as he moved from one town to another via their vineyards. Due to this work, and to Urban’s devotion to the Holy Blood, he developed great affection to all the people in the wine industry, and they for him. Urban is thus the patron saint of all those who work in the wine industry and is invoked against blight and alcoholism.


The Wijnkopersgildehuis ("Wine buyers' guildhall") is a former guildhall in Amsterdam. The 17th-century double house is located at Koestraat 10-12, near Nieuwmarkt square. It is one of the few remaining guildhalls in Amsterdam and has the oldest known neck-gables. The building has rijksmonument status.The guildhall is owned by the historic preservation society Vereniging Hendrick de Keyser. The building served as a museum for a number of years during the second half of the 20th century. Currently (2012), it is rented out as a residence with an artist's workshop.

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
13th–16th centuries
Viterbo (1257–1281)
Orvieto (1262–1297)
Perugia (1228–1304)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy
Virgin Mary
See also

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