Saint Of The Day For December 19: Saint Anastasius
Anastasius de Massimi, from a noble Roman family, was elected Pope in 399. Of deep spirituality, he lived poorly.
He courageously defended the Catholic faith by opposing Donatism, a heresy that wanted a Church of the perfect, rigorist and pauperist. He died in 401.
The Life Of Anastasius
Of Roman origin, his was a very short pontificate, from 399 to 401.
During these two years he had the basilica Crescenziana built, over which the present basilica dedicated to St Sixtus the Elder would later be erected, where the relics of St Sixtus, moved here from the catacombs of St Callistus in the 6th century, are kept today.
Anastasius had to act against the heresy of Donatism, which maintained that the church should be composed only of the ‘perfect’.
Followers of this doctrine were called ‘rigorists’.
The dispute of Anastasius with Origen
The dispute against Origen (183-285?), fuelled by St Jerome, is of particular interest.
After letters and denunciations, the pope relented and condemned Origen’s propositions.
St Rufinus tried in every way to defend Origen’s work and erase any taint of suspicion, but Pope Anastasius did not intervene.
Relations with St Paulinus of Nola
On the other hand, he maintained excellent relations with Saint Paulinus, with whom he repaired the displeasure of his predecessor.
As a gesture, he invited him to Rome on the anniversary of his consecration, a privilege usually reserved only for bishops.
Death of Anastasius
Anastasius died on 19 December 401.
Faced with this premature death and short pontificate, St. Jerome declared that ‘If he died so early, it was because of a regard of Providence, which did not want such a bishop to witness the fall of Rome’ (in 410).