Novemeber 18, 2011. (Romereports.com)
The connection between Christianity and Africa is often overlooked, but the bond is strong. According to the Gospel, Jesus spent part of his childhood in Egypt. And, in fact, several popes, martyrs and saints are from that continent.
As far as saints, perhaps the most popular is St. Augustine of Hippo. Others like St. Tertullian, St. Cyprian and St. Athanasius also have a strong following. The latest African Saint is Josephine Bakhita who was canonized by John Paul II.
According to Italian website “Il Sismografo,”
which covers religious news, there have been three African popes: Victor I, Melquiades I and Gelasius I.
Victor I was actually the 14th pope. He was the first pope to write in Latin, but in the II century he became a martyr.
The second African pope, Melquiades I, also became a martyr in the IV century. He was also a witness of Emperor Constantine's rise to power in Rome.
Gelasius I was the third African pope. He made it a point to separate Church and state, which marked a key transition in Western culture.
Unlike the two other African popes, he wasn't a martyr. He died because of an illness.