ANICETUS (Saint) Pope. (April 17) (2nd century) A Syrian, who succeeded Saint Pius I on the Chair of Saint Peter (A.D. 162), a year after the death of the Emperor Antoninus Pius. He defended the Faith with much zeal and ability against Valentinus, Marcian and other Gnostic heretics of that age. He welcomed Saint Polycarp of Smyrna to Rome, whither that Saint had repaired in order to settle with the Pope the vexed question of the date of Easter. After a comparatively short Pontificate he is said to have been put to death by order of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, whose philosophical leanings did not hinder him from oppressing the Christians then fast growing in numbers and influence.