Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 438
The presbyters of Rome run the Church of Rome after the death of Pope Sixtus II (AD 258). The Presbyter Severus is among those martyred in that period. Account of the Liber Pontificalis (written in Rome), AD 530/546.
46. Xystus.
[…]  Et presbiteri praefuerunt a consulatu Maximo et Gravione secundo usque Tusco et Basso, a consulatu Tusci et Bassi usque XIII kal. aug., quo tempore sevissima persecutio urguebatur sub Decio. Et post passionem beati Xysti, post tertia die, passus est beatus Laurentius eius archidiaconus IIII id. aug et subdiaconus Claudius et Severus presbiter et Crescentius lector et Romanus ostiarius. [...]
(ed. Duchesne 1886: 155)
46. Sixtus.
[...] The presbyters were in charge from the second consulate of Maximus and Gravio to that of Tuscus and Bassus, from the consulate of Tuscus and Bassus to 20 July, when the most cruel persecution took place under Decius. After the passion of blessed Sixtus, after the third day, his archdeacon Laurence was martyred on 10 August, and so were the subdeacon Claudius, and the presbyter Severus, and the lector Crescentius, and the ostiarius Romanus.
(trans. S. Adamiak)


The chronology presented in the passage is entangled. The second consulate of L. Valerius Maximus and the first of M. Acilius Glabrio (not Gravio) was in the year 256, the consulate of M. Nummius Tuscus and Pomponius Bassus in the year 258. Pope Sixtus was martyred on 6 August 258.

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Rome

About the source:

Title: Liber Pontificalis, The Book of Pontiffs, Gesta Pontificum Romanorum
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Liber Pontificalis is a major source for the history of the papacy in the first millenium. It is a collection of the lives of popes, starting from St Peter and kept going through to 870. Liber Pontificalis is prefaced by two apocryphical letters of Pope Damasus and Jerome, but it cannot be dated to that period. Although Mommsen tended to put the date of the actual compilation as late as the seventh century, nowadays Duchesne`s view is generally accepted that there were two editions made in the 530s-540s. The first, presumably completed soon after 530, has not survived as such, though we have two epitomes made from it (known as “Felician” and “Cononian” from the names of the popes at which they end). Duchesne tried to reconstruct it in his edition, but we follow the second edition presented by him, which was completed by the siege of Rome in 546. The work was then left aside for some time, and taken up again probably under Honorius (625-638) or shortly afterwards; hence the additions were written shortly after each pontiff`s death.
Liber starts to provide some more reliable information with the times of Pope Leo I (440-461), and becomes very well informed with the end of the fifth century. The lives of earlier popes cannot be considered as a valid source of information about their lifetime. However, those notices are a precious source for the sixth century: we learn what was considered an old tradition at the time, and how the past of the Roman church was being seen and constructed then. It is especially important when we deal with the liturgy
 L. Duchesne ed., Le `Liber Pontificalis`, vol. 1., Paris 1886.
 T. Mommsen ed., Liber Pontificalis pars prior, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Gesta Pontificum Romanorum 1, Berlin 1898.
 The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis). The ancient biographies of the first ninety Roman bishops to AD 715, revised edition, translated with an introduction by R. Davis, Liverpool 2000.
Cult of Saints Project, no. E00362.


Functions within the Church - Urban presbyter
    Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
    Public law - Secular
    Administration of justice - Capital punishment
    Ecclesiastical administration
      Equal prerogatives of presbyters and bishops
        Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER438,