St. Julius of Rome

In this episode of our volunteer-driven research project “Walking The Way with The Saints”, we focus on St. Julius, Pope of Rome from 337-352 AD.

Jobin Chacko of St. Simon’s Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, Edmonton, Canada, tells us about his research into the life and work of St. Julius and how he can inspire us today. Watch his video below –

St. Julius of Rome is one of the six Popes commemorated in the Syriac Orthodox Liturgical Calendar. The Syriac Church celebrates his feast on December 19th.

We do not have much information about his early life. He became the Pope of Rome on February 6th 337 AD and shepherded the Church of Rome until his death on April 12th 352 AD. St. Julius is known for fiercely defending the Orthodox faith that was confirmed at the Holy Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. During his tenure, the Church was in the midst of the Arian controversy and had to deal with the partisans of Arius whom continued to subvert the truth. St. Athanasius of Alexandria was fiercely persecuted by the Arians, and he sought the support of his brother shepherd in the Orthodox faith, Pope Julius. In the year 341 AD, a local council was convened in Rome where St. Athanasius was vindicated and the faith of Nicaea reaffirmed once again.

Unfortunately, the partisans of Arius continued their persecution. At the behest of the Emperor, Pope Julius convened the Council of Sardica. St. Athanasius says of this council, “The Council of Sardica did not define anything of the like. Some however, dared to claim that there were lapses in the Council of Nicaea. Therefore, the Council of Sardica decided not to introduce any revision of the definition of the faith established by the fathers of Nicaea, because it was complete and that the fear of God was manifested in it. Thus, it is not permissible to define the faith once more except that which was defined by the Council of Nicaea, in order to obviate any doubt about its consummation and create a pretext for those who tried to redefine the faith more than once. In this case, it is possible for corruption to creep into the faith through one person or more. Therefore, it is imperative that such men should incline toward peace.”

The West- Syriac rite is known for its many Anaphorae, numbering around eighty or so. One of these anaphora is attributed to Pope St. Julius of Rome. This short anaphora has been translated into Malayalam and English, and is used occasionally by some clergy. This anaphora is unique in that during the recitation of the fifth dypthic by the deacon, the celebrant recites an inaudible prayer which says, “Remember O Lord, all the bishops and Orthodox doctors of Your Holy Church, who have preceded, rested and journeyed to You , from Peter the chief apostle until now.”

We thank all those who worked to produce this material and pray that it helps all who read and watch. May the prayers of St. Julius be a refuge for us! ♰

Stay tuned for the next episode as laymen and clergy present their research on the saints of the Syriac Orthodox Church.

May God bless all of you!

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