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Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Pope St. Urban I
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Pope St. Urban I. Photograph on Wikipedia by User: Pleple2000.  Taken July 12, 2006.

Next in the continuing series of posts on the History of the Sovereign Pontiffs, after the death of Pope St.  Callistus I on October 14, 222, St. Urban I was elected as the Supreme Pontiff.

Pope St. Urban I was a Roman who served as the Successor of St. Peter for nearly nine years.  According to legend, St. Urban baptized Valerian, the husband of St. Cecilia.  But little is known with certainty of his life.  He died in 230 and is buried in the Cemetary of Callixtus.

Concerning St. Urban, Butler's Lives of the Saints offers the following:
The notice in the Roman Martyrology reads : "At Rome on the Via Nomentana, the birthday of Blessed Urban, Pope and Martyr, by whose exhortation and teaching many persons, including Tiburtius and Valerian, received the faith of Christ, and underwent martyrdom therefor ; he himself also suffered much for God's Church in the persecution of Alexander Severus and at length was crowned with martyrdom, being beheaded." 
It is to be feared that even this short notice is mainly apocryphal. The reference to Tiburtius and Valerian is derived from the very unsatisfactory Acts of St Cecilia, from which also the account of Urban in the Liber Pontificalis has borrowed. It is quite certain in any case that Pope Urban was not buried on the Via Nomentana, but in the cemetery of St Callistus, on the Via Appia, where a portion of his sepulchral slab, bearing his name, has been found in modern times. 
Not far from the cemetery of Callistus on the same main road was the cemetery of Praetextatus, and there another Urban, a martyr, had been buried. Confusion arose between the two, and an old building close beside the Praetextatus catacomb was converted into a small church, afterwards known as St Urbano alia Caffarella. The confusion of the two Urbans and the muddle hence resulting in the notices of the Hieronymianum are points full of interest, but too complicated to be discussed here. 
Collect (from his feastday on May 25th):

O Eternal Shepherd, who appointed blessed Urban shepherd of the whole Church, let the prayers of this martyr and supreme pontiff move You to look with favor upon Your flock and keep it under Your continual protection. Through our Lord . . .

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