St. Pius I, Pope and Martyr
Pius, the first of that name to be Pope, was successor to Saint Hyginus, and is said to have been a brother of that Hermas who wrote the treatise known as The Shepherd. According to the Pontifical Book, he was from Aquileia, but was a priest in Rome when he was elected Pope ; in which office he served God during the time of the Emperors Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, and held five ordinations in the month of December, wherein he ordained twelve bishops and eighteen priests. In his day the church was greatly troubled by the hereticks, Valentinus and Marcion. Pius vigorously opposed their heresy of Gnosticism, with the aid of Saint Justin Martyr who was in Rome at that time ; and he excommunicated Marcion, who had come thither also. The conflicts which he sustained won for him the title Martyr. But some say that he was beheaded for Christ, namely, on July 11th 154, and buried on the Vatican Hill.
Collect: Be merciful to the people of thy flock, O Lord, eternal Shepherd and Bishop of the souls of men, and keep us in thy continual protection, at the intercession of thy Martyr, the holy Father Pius, whom thou didst raise up in thy Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.