|Papacy began||6 February 337|
|Papacy ended||12 April 352|
|Born||Rome, Western Roman Empire|
|Died||12 April 352|
Rome, Western Roman Empire
|Feast day||12 April|
|Other popes named Julius|
|Papal styles of|
Pope Julius I
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Julius was a native of Rome and was chosen as successor of Pope Mark after the Roman see had been vacant for four months. He is chiefly known by the part he took in the Arian controversy. After the followers of Eusebius of Nicomedia, who had become the archbishop of Constantinople, renewed their deposition of Athanasius at a synod held in Antioch in 341, they resolved to send delegates to Constans, Emperor of the West, and also to Julius, setting forth the grounds on which they had proceeded. Julius, after expressing an opinion favourable to Athanasius, adroitly invited both parties to lay the case before a synod to be presided over by himself. This proposal, however, the Arian Eastern bishops declined to accept.
On this second banishment from Alexandria, Athanasius came to Rome, and was recognised as a regular bishop by the synod presided over by Julius in 342. Julius sent a letter to the Eastern bishops that is an early instance of the claims of primacy for the bishop of Rome. Even if Athanasius and his companions were somewhat to blame, the letter runs, the Alexandrian Church should first have written to the pope. "Can you be ignorant," writes Julius, "that this is the custom, that we should be written to first, so that from here what is just may be defined" (Epistle of Julius to Antioch, c. xxii).
It was through the influence of Julius that, at a later date, the council of Sardica in Illyria was held, which was attended only by seventy-six Eastern bishops, who speedily withdrew to Philippopolis and deposed Julius at the council of Philippopolis, along with Athanasius and others. The three hundred Western bishops who remained, confirmed the previous decisions of the Roman synod and issued a number of decrees regarding church discipline. The first canon forbade the transfer of bishops from one see to another, for if frequently made, it was seen to encourage covetousness and ambition.
By its 3rd, 4th, and 5th decrees relating to the rights of revision claimed by Julius, the council of Sardica perceptibly helped forward the claims of the Bishop of Rome. Julius built several basilicas and churches in Rome and died there 12 April 352. He was succeeded by Liberius.
Around 350 A.D. Pope Julius I declared December 25 as the official date of the birth of Jesus.