Roman Catholic Pope and Saint. His predecessor Pope Fabian, was put to death by Emperor Decius on January 20, 250. Shortly afterwards Cornelius was elected and consecrated as the 21st Pope and ordained Bishop of the Church of Rome in early 251 A.D. Unfortunately for Cornelius, his election was not unanimously hailed. The spokesman for the committee, Novatian, objected to the choice and felt that he should have been picked instead. Some of the reason may be due to a desire for power, but there were also serious differences over the governing of the church. In particular, Novatian and Cornelius disagreed over how to deal with those Christians who renounced their faith during the persecutions. Cornelius advocated readmitting them to the Christian community after a suitable penance, but Novatian wanted them shut out permanently. Most sided with Cornelius, but a few agreed with Novatian's harder position and a schismatic movement developed with Novatian as antipope. Eventually all would be excommunicated. The friendship of St. Cyprian secured to Cornelius the hundred bishops of Africa, and the influence of St. Dionysius the Great, Bishop of Alexandria, who brought the East within a few months to a decision in favor of Pope Cornelius. At the beginning of 252 A.D. a new persecution suddenly broke out and Cornelius was driven into exile to Civita Vecchia, Italy. It is said that Cornelius died a martyr death by being beheaded, but other reports indicate that he died in banishment. Saint Cornelius is considered the Patron Saint of Cattle and Domestic Animals.
Bio by: Saratoga