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 Black Saints – March

March 1st – St. Gelasius
(Bishop of Rome and third African Pope, 492 – 496)

Gelasius I, the descendant of an African family, was born in Rome and served as archdeacon to Felix III before he was elected Pope in 492. St. Gelasius was on good terms with Theodoric. However, he had difficulties with the emperor of the East, Anastasius, because of the Henoticon, the monothelitic teachings of which the Pope opposed. St. Gelasius also opposed the celebration of the pagan feast, Lupercalia. The first Pope to be called the Vicar of Christ, St. Gelasius proposed that spiritual and temporal powers are separate trusts from God. The spiritual, however, is superior to the temporal. Although the Gelasian Decrees and the Gelasian Sacramentary bear his name, modern scholars believe Gelasius had no part in them. He died in 496 and was buried in St. Peter's. Modern scholars do not know where in the church his body lies.