Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope John Paul II Dies

I, like so many millions of people around the world, am deeply saddened to see His Holiness Pope John Paul II preparing to leave us behind. Whether one is Catholic or not, whether one agreed with the Pope on religious and social and global issues or not, one had to respect this man for his conviction to his faith in God and in humankind.

Pope John Paul II has done his job for God and for all of us on Earth, and now it seems that it is his time to go. My sympathies go out to the faithful of the Roman Catholic Church around the world in your time of great sadness, and to people in the world who looked upon him as a good and strong leader for all of us who believe and want to believe, in God.

Go with God, Pope John Paul II, in Peace.

Update April 03:

A few hours after publishing my brief posting above Pope John Paul II died. Although many of us are sad to see him go we must also be relieved to see his physical suffering come to an end. It is fascinating to watch on TV the outpouring of emotion from around the world for this great spiritual leader and to be able to observe the ceremonies and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.

I noticed something last night in a comment made by of one of the zillions of TV commentators covering the story of the Pope's death, and that is that there was a Pope of the Roman Catholic Church about 1500 years ago who came from Africa. Help me out here (religion experts and historians) who was this Pope and where did he come from?

As this blog is supposed to be focused on Africa, it was nice to find this little Q&A article at BBC Wolrd News online about Pope John Paul II's legacy to Africa.


Ingrid said...

Carine said...

I found this link on African popes:

Or read below:
Many people are not aware of the African influence on the Roman Empire, and the Roman Church. Christianity had become the "State" religion in Rome, African spirituality was completely suppressed and the "Isis Sect" (Osiris, the Father; Horus, the Son; Isis, the Mother of the Son) was no longer practiced openly.

As Christianity came into focus, three African Popes emerged in church history, Pope Victor I; Pope Militiades; and Pope Gelasius. Pope Victor I, came to power in 168 A.D., at a time when the date of Easter was very controversial. The fact that Easter Day is always celebrated on a Sunday is due to the decision of Pope Victor I, the fourteenth in line after Saint Peter. The second African pope was Militiades, a Black priest who was elected the thirty-seventh pope in 311 A.D. Militiades was the first pope to have an official residence. It was under Pope Militiades' reign that Constantine was converted to Christianity. A split came about in the church after Constantine began intervening in church affairs. Militiades died in 314 A.D. and was the last pope to be buried in the famous Catacombs.

The third African pope was Gelasius, who was born in Rome to African parents. He received a superior education. In his youth, Gelasius was a member of the Roman clergy. As pope Gelasius arranged several rules for the clergy, including allowing the use of wine at the Holy Communion.

Galasius has been recognized as one of the most vigorous, resourceful popes in the 5th Century. His writings and sermons have been quoted down through the ages. Gelasius composed many hymns. He also arranged a standard Mass book. Gelasius died in 496 A.D.

It has been said that Rome fell because she threw her doors too wide open by permitting Africans to become State and Church dignitaries. The reality of the fall of Rome is that Roman power weakened when the strength and efficiency of the Roman army deteriorated. The prevailing thought about Africans has been that it was only through the colonizing and Christianizing of Africans that they could hope to become civilized. The facts contained in the records of history, which may be examined, prove that Africans had highly developed civilized nations long before Europe or the Christian church was born. The church today, for example, continues to observe ancient Egyptian (African) practices without their knowledge.

Interesting isn't it?

Black River Eagle said...

Thanks Ladies! I should have known that "the Girls" would have been the first to answer my question re: African Popes. Women are really smart when it comes to History and other academic subjects. Maybe that is why so many men (and boyz) through the ages have tried so hard to hold them back from getting an education and participating equally in other aspects of life, 'cause the men were afraid of the competition women posed.

Here is another interesting bit of history about the Roman Catholic Church. It is the story about the orgins of Our Lady in Czestochowa, the patron saint of Poland. I had a chance to view this ancient work of art personally during a visit to Czestochowa in 1994, in which I unkowingly embarrassed the Polish tour guide by asking too many probing questions about its origins and why it was named the "Black Madonna". They were glad to see me leave the monastary by the way...:-)

I wonder what other historical artifacts and documents they've got hidden away in the libraries and cellars of monastaries and cathedrals and other houses of worship around the world, and what was destroyed in fire or stolen?

Check out this story on one of the Roman Catholic Church's "Black Madonnas" courtesy of Micahel Duricy at this University of Dayton (Ohio) site: