Saints Victor, Melchiades, Gelasius

Did you know that among the 265 popes of the Catholic Church, between Saint Peter and the current pope Benedict the XVI, are three popes know to be of African descent?
Saint Victor was a deacon when he became the first black and the 14th pope in 189 A.D. He established a set date for the yearly celebration of Easter. Saint Victor died a martyr for the faith in 199.

Saint Melchiades (mel-KY-uh-des) reigned as the Church’s second black and 32nd pope, from 311 to 314. He signed Emperor Constantine’s laws that ended persecutions and made Christianity the established religion of the Roman Empire.

Saint Gelasius the First was the Church’s third black and 49th pope from 492 to 496. He was known then for saving Rome from famine, composing a book of hymns, and clarifying Church teaching on the Eucharist.

Saints Victor, Melchiades, Gelasius, pray for us.