The Catholic Church and its Black African Popes
This information is taken from the National Black Catholic Congress website. See weblink on the right in useful sources.
The lack of Catholic Apologetics and proper study of Catholic Church History in schools clearly becomes apparent in the erroneous concept that the
Catholic Church is yet to have a Black Pope, Black Saints or Marytrs and must embrace non-racist policies. The Catholic Church has been universal
from its very beginnings, has always fought racism and slavery, and has ALREADY had three black Popes all of whom were Saints.
There were three African Popes who came from the region of North Africa. Although there are no authentic portraits of these popes, there are drawings and references in the Catholic Encyclopedia as to their being of African background. The names of the Three African Popes are: Victor (183-203 A.D.), Gelasius (492-496 A.D.), and Mechiades or Militiades (311-314 A.D.). All are saints.
Pope Saint Victor 1
Saint Victor was born in Africa and bore a Latin name as most African did at that time. Saint Victor was the fifteenth pope and a native of black Africa. He served from 186 A.D. until 197 A.D. He served during the reign of Emperor Septimus Severus, also African, who had led Roman legions in Britain. Some of the known contributions of Victor were his reaffirming the holy feast of Easter to be held on Sunday as Pius has done. As a matter of fact, he called Theophilous, Bishop of Alexandria, on the carpet for not doing this. He also condemned and excommunicated Theodore of Byzantium because of the denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ. He added acolytes to the attendance of the clergy. He was crowned with martyrdom. He was pope for ten years, two months and ten days. He was buried near the body of the apostle Peter, the first pope in Vatican. Some reports relate that St. Victor died in 198 A.D. of natural causes. Other accounts stated he suffered martyrdom under Servus. He is buried in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City near the "Convessio."
Pope Saint Victor 1 feast day is July 28th.
Pope Saint Gelasius 1
Saint Gelasius was born in Rome of African parents and was a member of the Roman clergy from youth. Of the three African popes, Gelasius seems to have been the busiest. He occupied the holy papacy four years, eight months and eighteen days from 492 A.D. until 496 A.D. Gelasius followed up Militades' work with the Manicheans. He exiled them from Rome and burned their books before the doors of the basilica of the holy Mary. He delivered the city of Rome from the peril of famine. He was a writer of strong letters to people of all rank and classes. He denounced Lupercailia, a fertility rite celebration. He asked them sternly why the gods they worshipped had not provided calm seas so the grain ships could have reached Rome in time for the winter. He wrote to Femina, a wealthy woman of rank, and asked her to have the lands of St. Peter, taken by the barbarians and the Romans, be returned to the church. The lands were needed for the poor who were flocking to Rome. His theory on the relations between the Church and the state are explained in the Gelasian Letter to the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius. He was known for his austerity of life and liberality to the poor.
There is today in the library of the church at Rome a 28 chapter document on church administration and discipline. Pope Saint Gelasius 1 feast day is November 21st.
Pope Saint Miliades 1
Saint Miltiades was one of the Church's Black Popes. Militades occupied the papacy from 311 to 314 A.D. serving four years, seven months and eight days. Militiades decreed that none of the faithful should fast on Sunday or on the fifth day of the week ...because this was the custom of the pagans. He also found residing in Rome a Persian based religion call Manichaenism. He furthered decreed that consecrated offerings should be sent throughout the churches from the pope's consecration. This was call leaven. It was Militiades who led the church to final victory over the Roman Empire. Militiades was buried on the famous Appain Way.
Pope Saint Militiades feast day is December 10th