Pope and martyr
Our Saint went through unbelievable
sufferings in his fight for the defence and the propagation of the Christian
faith. Emperor Valerian declared to the Senate that he wanted all the bishops,
priests and ministers of the Church to be apprehended and to endure all sorts
of torture until death. Sixte was arrested as head of
the Christians, presented to the judges and accused of having held secret
meetings. He confessed that he spared no effort to establish the religion of the
true God and to destroy the superstitions of idolatry. He protested that he
would gladly die for such a just and holy cause. He was taken to the
Saint Sixte had been Pope for about two years from the consulate of Maxime and Glabrion to that of d’AEmilanius et Bassus (258). With his execution, he preceded many glorious martyrs that were to increase throughout the Roman world as a result of Valerian’s edicts. The names of many of the martyrs that followed Sixte were never recorded by history. Laurent, Archdeacon to the Pope, followed Sixte to his execution crying “Where are you going Holy Father without your deacon?” Sixte replied, “I am not the one leaving you my son, a bigger fight awaits you.Within three days, you will follow me”.
This prophesy was to be fulfilled as Sixte predicted.
As stated by the Roman martyrology, many of the Pope’s companions had to endure the same fate, and were executed alongside him on the same day, including the Deacons Saint Felicissime and Saint Agapit; and the sub Deacons Saint Janvier, Saint Magne, and Saint Etienne; as well as Saint Quart. According to the writings of Saint Prudence, the poet, Saint Sixte was executed, tied to a cross. His body was buried in the Callixte cemetery on the via Appia, where he had been executed.
All martyrologies after Saint Cyprien, Saint Augustin, Saint Maxime, Saint Pierre Chrysologue and many others, speak of Saint Sixte with the greatest respect. Amongst the praises given to Sixte II in ancient times, one particularly notices that of a gentle and peaceful Pope.
Saint Sixte is represented with a sword on his side to remind us that he was beheaded.
|Saint Sixte annual procession starts from Eygalières||Saint Sixte bust|
|In July and August, the chapel may be freely visited on sundays from 15 to 19 pm.|
one of the most attractive rural chapels in
Like most of the rural chapels, it replaced an antique sanctuary – a spring gushes out closeby. It was divinised thousands of years ago by Neolithic shepherds who worshipped Sylvanus and water, mirror of the sky.
The oldest part is the apse with its half dome built in medium sized stones. It is separated from the nave by a triumphal arch resting on two consoles representing the head of the apocalyptic boar.
The nave is divided into three cradle-vaulted bays.
The steeple made of a plain arcade wall rises above the façade.
In 1629, at the time of the plague, a cradle-vaulted peristyle –or stabulum- was added. It was used as a watch post for the chapel which had been turned into a plague hospital (quarantine).
Outside on the north face, the chapel is supported by two thick buttresses.
In the XVI century, a small hermitage was built on the south side, with two rooms for the hermit and a small walled garden.
chapel together with the Saint-Laurent
From this date, a pilgrimage has been taking place in Eygalières every Tuesday after Easter. On that day, the bust of Pope Saint Sixte, made of gilded wood, carried by for priors of the brotherhood of Saint-Sixte, leaves the parish church followed by the population, the Camargue ‘gardians’ and young girls dressed in the Arlesian traditional costume riding behind. The procession , banners first, then proceeds toward the chapel which is 1500m distant from the village.
Mass is said outside the chapel in the Provencal language. For centuries, the villagers have been coming to this pilgrimage, asking for rain on years of great drought. This is a survival of a pagan worship dedicated to the springs which Christianity has managed to eradicate.
The font, now disappeared, was a pagan style bearing on one side an inscription dedicated to the healing waters. Recently a paleochristian stele was found in the walls of the hermitage.
This water district was inhabited in the roman
era and the VIth legion which had just founded
Derived from « Eygalières en