Anicetus of Rome

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Our father among the saints Anicetus of Rome was the Bishop of Rome from about 155 to about 166. Anicetus was the first bishop of Rome to be actively opposed to the heresy of Montanism as well as those of Gnosticism and Marcionism. His feast day is April 17.


Little is known of the life of Anicetus. He was a Syrian from the city of Emesa (modern-day Homs). According to Irenaeus of Lyons, Polycarp of Smyrna met with Anicetus over the issue of the celebration of Pascha. Polycarp and his Church of Smyrna celebrated the crucifixion on the fourteenth day of Nisan (Quartodeciman), which coincides with Pesach or Passover regardless of which day of the week this date fell, while the church in Rome celebrated the Pasch on Sunday, the day of Christ's resurrection. The two did not agree on a common date, but Anicetus conceded to St. Polycarp and the Church of Smyrna the ability to retain the date to which they were accustomed. The controversy continued to grow more heated in the following centuries.

According to legend, Anicetus was martyred during the reign of co-emperor Lucius Verus. However, there is no historical basis for this account.[1] The date of his repose in April 17.


  1. Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 120
Succession box:
Anicetus of Rome
Preceded by:
Pius I
Bishop of Rome
Succeeded by:
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