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Showing posts from August, 2015

St. Hippolytus of Rome, priest, martyr

Today is the feast of St. Hippolytus of Rome, who has the dubious distinction of being the first Anti-Pope, but so beloved by both factions that he was quickly raised to the altars after his death as a martyr. His memorial is optional on the Roman calendar, which is a shame, because, first, there is value in celebrating the holiness of a man who divided the Church and then repented to be reconciled with Her, but also because St Hippolytus is attributed with writing what has become probably the most commonly used Eucharistic canon, Eucharistic Prayer II.

 The Anaphora of Hippolytus, which became the basis for the prayer, is found in Chapter IV of The Apostolic Tradition, a work attributed to Hippolytus. The Apostolic Tradition's purpose is a guide to recently ordained bishops, and the prayer is included as a guiding example to these bishops, who were expected to compose their Eucharistic prayers extempore. However, even in its own time, the prayer must have been recognized for its…