SAINT FELIX I
Pope and Martyr
Saint Felix was a Roman by birth and the son of the emperor Constance. He was elected Pope after the martyrdom of his predecessor, Saint Dionysius or Denis, on the last day of the year 269.
Four of his letters are still extant, though one is only a fragment; in the first two he regulates the procedures of justice in the case of accused ecclesiastics and warns against detractors and calumniators. In the third he refutes those who maintain errors still rampant in our day - that Jesus did not behold His Father by the beatific vision and was less than His Father. In the fragmentary fourth letter, the Pope foresees and rejects in advance the heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches, teaching that the Eternal Word is not another Person than Jesus Christ, who is both perfect God and perfect Man.
Saint Felix also wrote against the errors of Sabellius, Paul of Samosate and Manes, head of the Manicheans. He issued many ordinances of great advantage to the Church, such as that the relics of Saints should be enclosed in the altars where the Holy Sacrifice is offered. His life ended in the year 274 under the emperor Aurelian. Although that prince had shown a certain benevolence toward Christians at the beginning of his reign, in that year he ordered a furious persecution which enveloped Saint Felix and was the occasion for his winning a glorious crown of martyrdom. His body was interred in his own cemetery on the Aurelian Way, where he had also built a church. Saint Felix reigned for five years, ten months and 25 days.
Reflection. The example of our Saviour and of all His Saints ought to encourage us under all trials to suffer with patience and even with joy. We shall soon begin to feel that it is sweet to tread in the steps of the God-Man, and shall find that if we courageously take up our crosses, He will make them light by sharing the burden with us.