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Thu, 10.30.1000

Saint Gelasius I, Roman African Bishop born.

Saint Gelasius I

*The birth of Saint Gelasius I is celebrated on this date in c 450. He was the Black Roman African bishop of Rome.

Gelasius was born in Africa and was one of the most prolific authors of the early bishops of Rome. Over 100 Gelasian letters survive; although 49 are fragmentary, some are relatively short. Additionally, six treatises are extents that bear the name Gelasius. Although his dogmatic letters connected to the Acacian Schism were widely circulated in late antiquity (and have been the focus of much scholarly interest), most of Gelasius' letters were, in fact, concerned with the administration of the church of suburbicarian Italy. He was a bishop from March 1, 492, to his death.

Gelasius was a prolific author whose style placed him on the cusp between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Some scholars have argued that his predecessor, Felix III, may have employed him to draft papal documents, although this is not certain. During his pontificate, he called for strict Catholic orthodoxy and demanded obedience to papal authority more assertively, increasing the tension between the Western and Eastern Churches. Surprisingly, he also had cordial relations with the Ostrogoths, who were Arians (i.e., Non-trinitarian Christians) and, therefore, perceived as heretics from the perspective of Nicene Christians.

Cardinal Giuseppe Maria Tomasi quoted a portion of a missal of Gelasius in the Mass entitled 'Contra obloquentes' and published it. The section read: "Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we do not trouble ourselves about the contradiction of spurious minds, but once that very wickedness has been spurned, let us pray that you suffer us neither to be frightened by the unjust criticisms, nor to be attracted to the insidious flatteries, but rather to love that which Thou dost command."  1751 Pope Benedict XIV published this quotation in his Apostolic Constitution, "Providas," attacking freemasonry. After a brief yet dynamic ministry, Gelasius died on November 19, AD 496. His feast day is November 21, the anniversary of his interment. 

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