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Victor I

d.198. Pope from 189. Born in Africa of Latin stock, he was the first pope to bear a Latin name. The most significant feature of his ten years in office was his clash with the Quartodecimans* led by Polycrates,* bishop of Ephesus, with each side claiming apostolic authority for its dating of Easter. Victor seems to have regarded the matter just as much as a challenge to his authority, and to have seen it as a choice between Rome and Ephesus. He threatened with excommunication Polycrates and his fellow bishops from Asia Minor, and when they defied him went through the motions of carrying out the sentence. Irenaeus* considered the action too drastic, and though he disagreed with the Easterners he intervened, as did others, on their behalf. While it appears that the pope withdrew the sentence, the interlude did something to consolidate the position of the bishop of Rome. Nevertheless the matter was not finally disposed of until the Council of Nicea (325) when the Roman view was upheld. Victor acted with severity also in the case of others suspected of heresy.

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