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Friday, January 10, 2014

The African Popes

Black Roman Africans made significant contributions to the growth of Christianity and the development of the Roman Catholic faith.  The three greatest scholars and founding theologians of Christianity were all Roman Africans including Tetulian, Cyperian, and St. Augustine.  However, the greatest contribution was probably made by the three Black popes who were Pope Victor I, Pope Miltiades, and Pope Galasius I.

Pope Victor I was the 14th pope and served from 189 AD - 199 AD.  In 189 AD, the date of Easter was a matter of great controversy.   In Asia, Easter was celebrated on the 14th day after the full moon, which meant that some Christians were celebrating lent while others were celebrating resurrection.

Pope Victor I declared that Easter would only be celebrated on Sunday and that he would excommunicate all of the Christians of Asia if they failed to abide by his ruling.  Easter has been on Sunday ever since.  Under the influence of the Black theologian Tetulian, the Black Pope Victor I also declared that Latin would replace Greek as the official language of the Roman church.  Both Victor and Tetulian only wrote in Latin thereafter.  Pope Victor I is now celebrated as a saint with a feast day of July 28th.
At the same time that Black Romans controlled the world religiously with Victor and Tetullian, the Black Romans gained control of the world politically and militarily in 193 AD, when the Black Roman African Septimius Severus became the Roman Emperor.  He remembered his roots by making large donations to the urban poor and employing them in extensive building campaigns.  The month of September was named after Septimius Severus who was seceded as emperor of the Roman Empire by his Black son Caracalla from 211 AD until 217 AD.
The second Black pope was Pope Miltiades who served from 311 AD until 314 AD as our 32nd pope.  All Christians were persecuted when Miltiades took office until he obtained an edict of toleration signed by Emperor Galerius, which put an end to the great persecutions and allowed the Christians to come out of their catacombs.  Pope Miltiades also convinced Emperor Maxentius to return all church buildings and possessions, which had been confiscated during the persecutions.  It was also during the reign of Pope Miltiades that the Emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity after he saw the cross in a vision.

Constantine's army marched into Rome in 312 AD and overthrew the tyrant Maxentius.  He subsequently made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.  Miltiades was made a saint with his feast celebrated on December 10.  The Black Roman theologian St. Augustine called Pope Miltiades "an excellent pontiff, a true son of peace, and father of Christians."
The third Black pope was Galasius I, our 49th pope, who took office 492 AD (exactly 1,000 years before America was so-called "discovered").  He is described by his contemporaries as "famous all over the world for his learning and holiness."  Galasius I was devoted to uplifting the poor and weak and commanded his bishops to donate 25% of their revenue to charity, stressing that "nothing is more becoming to the priestly office that the protection of the poor and the weak."
Pope Galasius I is also credited with ending the pagan ritual of Lupercalia in which young men would dress in skins and strike any woman they met with a whip, which was supposed to confer fertility and to chase away bad luck.  He replaced Lupercalia with the "feast of the purification of the blessed virgin" now called "Candlemas".  Galasius I is most famous for his firm letter to Emperor Anastasius about the need for independence of church and state.  He told the emperor that the world is governed by two great powers: that of the popes and that of kings; but the authority of the popes is so much greater because on judgment day, popes will have to render an account to God for the soul of kings.  As were the other two African popes, Galasius I was also made a saint and his feast day is held on November 21.

Contrary to the belief of those who call Christianity a white man's religion, Christianity was founded with the genius of three Black theologians, and further developed and propelled by devoted contributions from three Black Roman African popes.

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