Rev. Alban Butler (171173). Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.
St. Anastasius, Pope and Confessor
HE was by birth a Roman, and had, by many combats and labours, acquired a high reputation for his virtues and abilities. He succeeded Siricius in the papacy, in 398. St. Jerom calls him1 a man of a holy life, of a most rich poverty, and endued with an apostolic solicitude and zeal. He exerted himself in stopping the progress of Origenism. When Rufinis had translated the dangerous books of Origen, On the Principles, he condemned that translation as tending to weaken our faith, built on the tradition of the apostles and our fathers, as he says in his letter on this subject, to John, bishop of Jerusalem.2 As to Rufinus, he leaves to God his intention in translating this work.3 In this epistle he calls all people and nations scattered over the earth, the parts of his body.4 He sat three years and ten days, dying on the 14th of December, 401. St. Jerom says,5 that God took him out of this world lest Rome should be plundered under such a head: for in 410, it fell into the hands of Alaric the Goth. The remains of this holy pope have been often translated: the greater part now rest in the church of Saint Praxedes. The Roman Martyrology commemorates his name on this day, which is probably that of one of these translations; see Ceillier, t. 8, p. 556, &c.
Note 3. F. Gamier published this letter in his edition of Marius Mercator, p. 3; but interpolated in the end, where it is pretended that Anastasius declares Rufinus himself to have been condemned by the holy see. This interpolation is omitted in the accurate edition of Coutant, t. 1, p. 738. It is not found in the best manuscripts; and is contrary to what this pope had said before in the same epistle, that he leaves Rufinuss conscience and intention to God his judge. [back]
Note 4. Mihi cura non deerit, evangelii fidem circa meos populos custodire, partesque corporis, per spatia diversa terrarum diffusas, quantis possum litteris convenire, ne qua profanæ interpretationis origo subrepat, quæ devotas immissâ sui caligine mentes labefactare conetur. Anast. Papa, Ep. ad Jean. Hier. apud Coutant. Ep. decretal, t. 1, p. 739. Pope Celestine afterwards, writing to the clergy and people of Constantinople, uses the like phrase: Nos licet longe positi, ubi cognovimus perversitate doctrinæ membra nostra lacerari, paternâ solicitudine nos urente, pro vobis alieno flagravimus incendio.Cum nostra viscera sitis, jure trepidamus, &c. p. 1, Conc. Ephesin. cap. 19. [back]