Pope Saint Hyginus

Pope Hyginus, whose feast is today, January 11th, reigned from 138 to his death in 142 – the ninth to hold the papal throne. Like most of the early Pontiffs, we know little about his life. According to what accounts we do have, it was Hyginus who instituted the tradition of Godparents at baptism, who defined the lower orders of the clergy, and who decreed that churches be consecrated. I would have thought that these would have existed before him – at least the dedication of churches – but perhaps it was Hyginus who clarified them in law. He is held to have died a martyr’s death, but there is no historical record of this. We can hold that he lived a holy life, and is buried on the Vatican Hill, with a statue to him in Saint Peter’s. May he intercede for the current Pope and Magisterium, which needs all the heavenly help it can get.