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St. Anacletus II

Facts

Feastday: April 26
Death: 88

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Pope Anacletus, also known as Cletus, was the third Bishop of Rome, serving from approximately AD 79 until his death around AD 92. He succeeded Saint Peter and Saint Linus in the papal office and was followed by Saint Clement I. Anacletus was a Roman by birth and his papacy is noted for the establishment of twenty-five parishes in Rome and the ordination of numerous priests.

Papacy

Anacletus' pontificate is marked by significant uncertainties regarding its exact timeline, reflecting the general ambiguity surrounding the early papacy. Estimates for his reign vary, with the Annuario Pontificio suggesting AD 80 to AD 92, although dates from AD 76 to AD 88 are also cited by scholars. His administrative actions included the significant development of church infrastructure, notably the creation of twenty-five parishes across Rome.

His contributions to the clerical structure involved the ordination of priests, an effort that helped consolidate the early Christian community in Rome. Anacletus is believed to have died a martyr, although details about his martyrdom are scarce and largely based on tradition rather than historical evidence.

Veneration and Legacy

Pope Anacletus is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. His tomb, believed to be located in the Vatican Necropolis beneath St. Peter's Basilica, lies among those ascribed to other early popes, although definitive epigraphic evidence is lacking.

He is commemorated in the Roman Canon of the Mass, and his feast day is celebrated on April 26. This date was solidified by Pope John XXIII in 1960, who removed a separate feast day previously observed on July 13. The 26th of April remains his liturgical celebration in the Roman Martyrology, reflecting his enduring legacy in the liturgical life of the Church.

Through his administrative and spiritual efforts, Pope Anacletus played a crucial role in the foundational years of the Roman Church, contributing to its organizational structure and spiritual leadership during a formative period of Christian history.

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