Italic Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal.
Roman Text from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.
Pope and Martyr.
Feast Day 30 May.
Pope Saint Felix I.
Fresco in Sistine Chapel, Vatican.
Papacy 269 A,D, - 274 A.D.
In 269 A.D., Saint Felix ascended the Throne of Peter, to whom Jesus, before His Ascension, had committed His Church.
Saint Felix commanded that Masses be celebrated over the tombs of Martyrs, and it is in remembrance of this prescription that the Relics of Martyrs are placed in a small cavity of the Altar Stone, called "Tomb".
The Altar, nowadays, has indeed often the shape of a tomb, this being a relic of the "Confession", or underground tomb, which is found under the High Altar in Roman Basilicas, and is reached by stairs.
The custom of uniting the remembrance of Martyrs to the Sacrifice of the Mass or of Calvary shows that these Martyrs, having entered into the bosom of Jesus (Gospel), have found there the strength to confess their Faith before their enemies and the Grace of being Children of the Father (Epistle).
Saint Felix bore witness to Christ in 274 A.D., under the persecution of Emperor Aurelian.
Mass: In Paschaltide, Protexisti, with Collects of Mass: Statuit.
Mass: Out of Paschaltide, Statuit.
A Roman by birth, Felix was chosen as Pope on 5 January 269 A.D., in succession to Pope Dionysius, who had died on 26 December 268 A.D.
Felix was the author of an important Dogmatic Letter on the Unity of Christ's Person. He received the Emperor Aurelian's aid in settling a theological dispute between the anti-Trinitarian, Paul of Samosata, who had been deprived of the Bishopric of Antioch, by a Council of Bishops, for heresy, and the Orthodox, Domnus, Paul's successor. Paul refused to give way, and in 272 A.D., the Emperor Aurelian was asked to decide between the rivals. He ordered the Church building to be given to the Bishop, who was "recognised by the Bishops of Italy and of the City of Rome" (Felix). See Eusebius, Hist. Ecc. vii. 30.
The Text of that Letter was later interpolated by a follower of Apollinaris in the interests of his Sect.
The notice about Felix, in the Liber Pontificalis, ascribes to him a Decree that Masses should be celebrated on the tombs of Martyrs ("Hic constituit supra memorias martyrum missas celebrare"). The author of this entry was evidently alluding to the custom of celebrating Mass privately at the Altars near, or over, the tombs of the Martyrs in the Crypts of the Catacombs (missa ad corpus), while the Solemn Celebration always took place in the Basilicas built over the Catacombs.
This practice, still in force at the end of the 4th-Century, dates apparently from the period when the great Cemeterial Basilicas were built in Rome, and owes its origin to the Solemn Commemoration Services of Martyrs, held at their tombs on the anniversary of their burial, as early as the 3rd-Century. Felix probably issued no such decree, but the compiler of the Liber Pontificalis attributed it to him, because he made no departure from the custom in force in his time.