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E01378: The short Life of Vigilius, bishop of Rome 537-555, in the Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome, probably during the 6th c., mentions the episcopal see close to Rome, known as 'Sancta *Rufina and Secunda', named after the two virgin martyrs of Silva Candida (S00814).

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posted on 2016-05-17, 00:00 authored by robert
Liber Pontificalis 61

Qui ingressus Siciliam in civitate Catinense permissus est facere ordinationem per mens. decemb. presbiteros et diaconos, in quibus retransmisit Romae Ampliatum presbiterum et vicedominum suum et Valentinum episcopum a sancta Rufina et Secunda ad custodiendum Lateranis et gubernandum clerum.

'When he [pope Vigilius] reached the city of Catania in Sicily he was allowed to perform the December ordination, priests and deacons; from them he sent back over to Rome Ampliatus the priest as his vicedominus, and Valentinus bishop at saints Rufina and Secunda to guard the Lateran and govern the clergy.'

Text: Duchesne 1886, 297. Translation: Davis 2010, 56, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Rufina and Secunda, virgin and martyrs at Rome, ob. c. 257 : S00814

Saint Name in Source

Rufina, Secunda

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Liber Pontificalis

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Towns, villages, districts and fortresses


The Liber Pontificalis consists of a series of very short lives of popes. The preface attributes it to pope Damasus (366-384), but this attribution is obviously false. According to Louis Duchesne, the first modern editor of the Liber Pontificalis, the original series of lives was written in Rome by an anonymous author, probably a member of the lesser clergy, in the 530s, and contained the lives from Peter the Apostle to Felix IV (ob. 530). Shortly after, before 546, the text was re-edited by another anonymous author and only this edition survives. The first edition, however, can be reconstituted on the basis of its two epitomes (and the second edition). The second edition started to be continued systematically from the time of pope Honorius (625–638). It should be noted that Theodor Mommsen dated both editions of the Liber Pontificalis to the 7th century, but his opinion is widely rejected and the commonly accepted dating is that of Duchesne. For the pre-Constantinian period (before 312), the credibility of the Liber Pontificalis is very low. The chronology is confused, and details concerning the personal lives, decisions and ordinations of the bishops of Rome at best reflect what people in the 6th century trusted to be true, at worst are a pure invention of the author. The situation changes with the later lives. Already the information of 4th-century papal foundations and offerings are generally trustworthy. The early 6th-century evidence, based on the author's first hand knowledge is even better, though still imperfect.


This bishopric, named after its martyrs, lies north-west of Rome at Silva Candida (present-day Selva Candida). The see is attested for the fist time at the beginning of the 6th century, when its bishop, Adeodatus attended a synod in Rome in AD 501.


Edition: Duchesne, L., Le Liber pontificalis. 2 vols (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886-1892) (with substantial introduction and commentary). Translation: Davis, R., The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis) (Translated Texts for Historians 6; 3rd ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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