St. Evaristus was the sixth pope of the Catholic Church, succeeding St. Anacletus. Not much is documented about his life, but several sources say he was the Greek son of a Jew from Bethlehem.
He became pope during the third year of Emperor Trajan’s reign, although historians cannot agree how long his papacy lasted. It is held that he lived long enough to see the beginning of the Antonine dynasty.
Early scholars credit St. Evaristus with dividing the city of Rome into parishes, and ordaining bishops, priests, and deacons to oversee them. In his first epistle, St. Evaristus wrote that seven deacons should monitor the preaching of each bishop, to ensure the truth was being taught. In his second epistle, he compared the bond between husband and wife to the relationship between a bishop and his diocese.
Church tradition holds that St. Evaristus died as a martyr and was buried on Vatican Hill near St. Peter. He is typically depicted with a sword, because he was decapitated, or with a crib, because he is said to be from Bethlehem.
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