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Sixtus III of Rome

Our father among the saints Sixtus III of Rome, also Xystus, was the Bishop of Rome from 432 to 440. During his episcopate Rome experienced a building boom that included the dedication of the churches of Santa Sabina and Santa Maria Maggiore. His feast day is March 28.


Sixtus was born in Rome. The date of his birth is unknown as is his early life. Sixtus was consecrated Bishop of Rome on July 31, 432, succeeding Bishop Celestine I. While before his election as Bishop of Rome, Sixtus had been a patron of Pelagius, who later was condemned as a heretic[1], Bp. Sixtus zealously fought to extinguish the Pelagian and Nestorian heresies. He expressed great joy at the reconciliation in 433 between St. Cyril of Alexandria, and John I of Antioch following their estrangement during the Third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus.

Bp. Sixtus' dedication of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to Mary the Mother of God reflected his acceptance of the council at Ephesus in 431, at which the debate over Christ's human and divine natures turned on whether Mary could legitimately be called the "Mother of God" or only "Mother of Christ". The council gave her the title Theotokos (literally "God-bearer", or "Mother of God")

Bp. Sixtus also continued to assert the rights of the Bishop of Rome over eastern Illyria and the position of archbishop of Thessalonica that the Bishop of Rome held before emperor Constantine divided the Empire and placed eastern Illyria within the Eastern Empire that the Church of Constantinople claimed.

Bp. Sixtus reposed on August 18, 440 and was succeeded by Leo the Great.


  1. Brown, Peter. "Pelagius and his Supporters." Journal of Theological Studies. 1968.XIX.1(93–114).
Succession box:
Sixtus III of Rome
Preceded by:
Celestine I
Bishop of Rome
Succeeded by:
Leo the Great
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