Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 436
Lucius, the bishop of Rome (AD 253-254), orders that two presbyters and three deacons should be with the bishop in any place. Account of the Liber Pontificalis (written in Rome), AD 530/546.
Lucius: […] Hic praecepit ut duo presbiteri et tres diaconi in omni loco episcopum non desererent propter testimonium ecclesiasticum. […] Hic potestatem dedit omni ecclesiae Stephano archidiacono suo, dum ad passionem pergeret. [...]
(ed. Duchesne 1886: 153)
Lucius: [...] He ordered that two presbyters and three deacons should not leave the bishop in any place, for the ecclesiastical testimony . [...] When he was conducted to his passion, he gave the power over the whole church to his archdeacon Stephen. [...]
(trans. S. Adamiak)


The information about the presbyters and deacons accompanying the pope may refer to the sixth century. The passages of the Liber Pontificalis referring to the middle of the third century give us an interesting vision of the governing of the church of Rome during the episcopal vacancies caused by the persecutions: Lucius appoints as his vice the archdeacon Stephen, who was anyway elected pope after Lucius' death, but the presbyters ran the church after the death of Syxtus II [438].

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Rome

About the source:

Title: Liber Pontificalis, The Book of Pontiffs, Gesta Pontificum Romanorum
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Liber Pontificalis is a major source for the history of the papacy in the first millenium. It is a collection of the lives of popes, starting from St Peter and kept going through to 870. Liber Pontificalis is prefaced by two apocryphical letters of Pope Damasus and Jerome, but it cannot be dated to that period. Although Mommsen tended to put the date of the actual compilation as late as the seventh century, nowadays Duchesne`s view is generally accepted that there were two editions made in the 530s-540s. The first, presumably completed soon after 530, has not survived as such, though we have two epitomes made from it (known as “Felician” and “Cononian” from the names of the popes at which they end). Duchesne tried to reconstruct it in his edition, but we follow the second edition presented by him, which was completed by the siege of Rome in 546. The work was then left aside for some time, and taken up again probably under Honorius (625-638) or shortly afterwards; hence the additions were written shortly after each pontiff`s death.
Liber starts to provide some more reliable information with the times of Pope Leo I (440-461), and becomes very well informed with the end of the fifth century. The lives of earlier popes cannot be considered as a valid source of information about their lifetime. However, those notices are a precious source for the sixth century: we learn what was considered an old tradition at the time, and how the past of the Roman church was being seen and constructed then. It is especially important when we deal with the liturgy.
 L. Duchesne ed., Le `Liber Pontificalis`, vol. 1., Paris 1886.
 T. Mommsen ed., Liber Pontificalis pars prior, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Gesta Pontificum Romanorum 1, Berlin 1898.
 The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis). The ancient biographies of the first ninety Roman bishops to AD 715, revised edition, translated with an introduction by R. Davis, Liverpool 2000.


Functions within the Church - Cathedral presbyter
    Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
      Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
        Relation with - Deacon
          Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER436,