Catholic Church may have already had a black Pope

JoanOfArc007

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
3,957
USA
An interesting article into the diversity of the history of the Catholic Church. This article truly interested me, wrt the point about what kind of African would Pope Victor I have been, was Victor born to a African or European family? Because as we know, just because one is born in Africa or China, does not mean they are born African or Asian. So any information on this topic would be welcomed.


The Rev. Cyprian Davis, a Benedictine priest who is a leading historian of African-American Catholicism, notes that by Pope Victor's time, the Roman aristocracy had large holdings in North Africa. It's not clear, however, whether these so-called African popes came from those families or from the rural, somewhat darker-skinned indigenous population known as the Berbers.

Davis said the best bet for what we would consider a "black" pope is probably Victor, but he added that the church and the empire of those early centuries were a mosaic of colors and ethnicities.

"It's important for us to look and say that yes, the early papacy was not white. No, it was much more diverse than you might think," Davis said.

Moreover, race as we think of it today did not have quite the same meaning back then.


Catholic Church may have already had a black pope
 

JoanOfArc007

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
3,957
USA
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 14thpope 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 the 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.


Black Saints: Victor, Melchiades, Gelasius

Anyone here with information on this topic is welcome. When one looks at the Roman Empire, we know that Rome expanded to Africa and Arabia...and Pope Victor was Pope during the reign of the Roman Empire. Now when one uses the term African Pope, or Black Pope to describe Victor I...we have to remember that so called race was viewed differently in the past compared to day. That being said is it fair to label Pope Victor I as a black Pope or even a African Pope?

The Church historian Christopher Bellitto has an interesting take,

"When you say 'black pope,' you have to think Roman Empire, not African-American," as Bellitto put it. Some popes in those days — along with many renowned saints and martyrs and bishops like St. Augustine of Hippo — probably looked more like modern Arabs than any pontiff of the last millennium.

Catholic Church may have already had a black pope
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
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 14thpope 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 the 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.

Black Saints: Victor, Melchiades, Gelasius

Anyone here with information on this topic is welcome. When one looks at the Roman Empire, we know that Rome expanded to Africa and Arabia...and Pope Victor was Pope during the reign of the Roman Empire. Now when one uses the term African Pope, or Black Pope to describe Victor I...we have to remember that so called race was viewed differently in the past compared to day. That being said is it fair to label Pope Victor I as a black Pope or even a African Pope?

The Church historian Christopher Bellitto has an interesting take,

"When you say 'black pope,' you have to think Roman Empire, not African-American," as Bellitto put it. Some popes in those days — along with many renowned saints and martyrs and bishops like St. Augustine of Hippo — probably looked more like modern Arabs than any pontiff of the last millennium.

Catholic Church may have already had a black pope
Even your own source states the theory is bunk. Why do you keep promoting it? What is your vested interest in racial motivated history revision? This is not the first time this nonsense has appeared on Historum, and considering your track record lately, you trying to champion this nonsense is not the best idea.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,363
Italy, Lago Maggiore
So Black!
Roman ... that is to say a Roman citizen. Anyway yes, his origins were Mediterranean.

About this, probably being Protestant, I'm the right person to underline that the election of a Pope is a political matter. This is why Popes from poor areas have been really rare. Imagine from Central or South Africa.

It hasn't been about race [not many years ago an African Bishop was really "papabile", that is to say potentially Pope], but about political support. How much money will you bring to the Holly Church in Rome? 10,000,000,000 US$? Not enough, sorry ...