Saints of the Canon – Saint Xystus

detail from 'Saint Sixtus Ordains Saint Lawrence', by Fra Angelico, c.1448, Cappella Niccolina, Palazzi Pontifici, VaticanSaint Xystus (the Greek form of Sixtus and hence he is known as Saint Sixtus II) was a Greek, who became Pope in 257, during the severe persecution of Valerian. Saint Xystus was arrested while preaching in the catacombs and was dragged through the streets of Rome. On the way he met Lawrence, one of his deacons, who claimed the right to join his master, but the Pope refused, promising him something much nobler but also much worse, and that promise was fulfilled three days later, when Lawrence suffered atrocious torture before death brought relief. Saint Xystus was beheaded in the catacomb of Praetextatus near the Appian Way, where there stands today a very ancient church in his honour.

His reign as Pope was a brief one, just a year, for his death occurred in 258 A.D.

– from The Saints of the Canon, by Monsignor John T. McMahon, M.A., Ph.D; Australian Catholic Truth Society, 1958