St Victor I was born in Africa and was Bishop of Rome between 189 and 199 and is best known for his attempt to standardise the date of Easter. He also presided over a period of respite from persecution for Roman Christians. His feast day was celebrated on July 28th but was one of those suppressed in 1969 revision of the Missal.

During the second century Christians of Asia still celebrated Easter on the 14th day of Nisan, whatever day of the week that might be, as with Jewish Passover. The Roman Christians, however, celebrated Easter only on the Sunday following the 14th, arguing that this was the actual day that Christ was resurrected. Victor wrote to Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus requesting that he bring together the Bishops of Asia to discuss the matter with them. Polycrates did so but replied that the universal view was that the Quartodeciman custom was observed. Victor convened a synod of Roman Bishops, the first ever recorded, and requested their view on the matter. He also wrote to the leading Bishops of many other districts and the view of the Roman Bishops was that Easter should only be celebrated on the Sunday. With this in mind Victor wrote once more to Polycrates demanding that all Asian Christians join the Romans in observing Easter on Sunday. He said should they refuse they would be excommunicated. This drastic course of action alarmed a number of Roman Bishops and St Irenaeus of Lyons wrote to Victor urging him show restraint and reminding Victor that his predecessors had allowed the Asian Bishops to continue with their own custom. There is no further evidence of what happened under Victor but it is known that the practice of celebrating Easter on Sunday gradually became universal throughout Christendom.

The aforementioned lull in persecution was thanks to a woman named Marcia who seems to have been Emperor Commodus' mistress. She was either a Christian herself of friendly towards them and she persuaded Commodus to treat them less harshly. She is supposed to have obtained a list of those Christians condemned to work in the salt mines of Sardinia and persuaded Commodus to grant them an Imperial pardon. Amongst those freed was a future Pope, Callistus.

Victor had to deal with a number of heretics including Theodotus the tanner who taught that Christ was a normal man imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit at baptism. The Liber Pontificalis claims that Victor decreed that Baptism could take place with any water in an emergency but this is thought to be one of the arbitrary additions to the biographies that Duchesne often made. By tradition Victor is recorded as a martyr but this is widely doubted.

Soter - Pope - Zephyrinus

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