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Saint Pope Julius

Saint Pope Julius
  • Century: 4th Century
  • Patronage: -
  • Feast Day: April 12th

Pope Julius was the Pope from February 6, 337 to April 12, 352.  He was a native of Rome and was chosen as successor of Pope Mark, after the Roman See had been vacant for four months.  He is best known for the part he took in the Arian Controversy.  

After the followers of Eusebius of Nicomedia who was then the Patriarch of Constantinople, had renewed their deposition of Athanasius at a synod help in Antioch in 341, they resolved to send delegates to Constans, Emperor of the West and also to Julius, setting for the grounds on which they had proceeded.  Julius, after expressing an opinion favorable to Athanasius, invited both parties to lay the case before a synod to be presided over by himself.  This proposal however, the Arian Eastern Bishops declined to accept.  

On his second banishment from Alexandria, Athanasius came to Rome, and was recognized as a regular Bishop by the Synod presided over by Julius in 342.  Julius sent a letter to the Eastern Bishops, an early instance of the claims of primacy for the Bishop of Rome.  Even if Athanasius and his companions were to blame, the letter says the Alexandrian Church should first have written to the Pope.  “Can you be ignorant,” writes Julius, “that this is the custom, that we should be written to first, so that from here what is just may be defined”.  

It was through the influence of Julius that at a later date, the council of Sardica, in Illyria was held, which was attended only by seventy-six Eastern Bishops, who speedily withdrew to Philippopolis and deposed Julius at the Council of Philippopolis, along with Athanasius and others.  Three hundred Western Bishops, who remained, confirmed the previous decisions of the Roman Synod.  Pope Julius died on April 12, 352 and was succeeded by Pope Liberius.  He is credited with setting Jesus’ birthday on December 25.  

Practical Take Away 

St. Pope Julius was born in Rome, and became Pope in 337 – 352.  He was our 35th Pope, and was most noted for fighting Arianism.  He also was successful in uniting the Eastern Bishops and the Western Bishops through Synods.  One of the things that we most remember St. Pope Julius for is his setting December 25th, as the Birthday of Jesus.  The Catholic Church has celebrated Christmas as being on December 25th, ever since his papacy in 337.  This is quite a test of time if you think about it, nearly 1800 years ago!