Pope Saint Cornelius (died June AD 253) was a Christian bishop and the 21st Pope of the Catholic Church, serving from 251 to 253 AD. His papacy was marked by a significant theological controversy known as the Novatian Schism. This schism arose over the issue of whether those who had lapsed from their faith during times of persecution should be readmitted to the Church.
Cornelius advocated for a compassionate approach, arguing that those who had repented should be reconciled to the Church. This position led to his excommunication by Novatian, who held a stricter stance. The controversy was resolved in favor of Cornelius at the Council of Arles in 314 AD.
Pope Saint Cornelius is also known for his strong leadership during a challenging period of Roman persecution. He was exiled by the Roman authorities and later martyred for his unwavering commitment to the Christian faith. Cornelius is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church, celebrated on September 16th, and remembered for his pastoral care, defense of reconciliation, and steadfastness in the face of adversity.