St. Mark

One of the four Evangelists, St. Mark is thought to have founded the Church of Alexandria, in Egypt. The Coptic Orthodox, Coptic Catholic and the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria trace their origins to this founding. Some believe that St. Mark was a native of North Africa. He is thought to have died in the year 62 or 63.


Best known for his quote "The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church," Tertullian was born probably about 160 at Carthage. According to St. Jerome he lived to extreme old age. The famous quote comes from his Apologeticus, Tertullian's most recognized work, in which he defends Christianity, demanding legal toleration and that Christians be treated as all other sects of the Roman Empire.


Born around 184 in Alexandria, Origen was one of the most influential theologians of the early Church. He was tortured for his faith during the Decian persecution in 250 and died three to four years later from his injuries. He is a Church Father.

St. Augustine of Hippo

Though his most famous work is The Confessions, Augustine, who has one of the most interesting conversion stories in history, also wrote The City of God and a number of works correcting the heresies of the time. Born in 354 in Thagaste, Numidia (modern-day Souk Ahras, Algeria), he eventually became the bishop of Hippo Regius, modern-day Annaba, Algeria. He died in  430 and is a Doctor of the Church.

Pope St. Victor I

While there is sometimes speculation about whether the Roman Catholic Church will ever have an African pope, it has already had three. All of them were Berbers. Victor I was the first bishop of Rome born in the Roman Province of Africa—probably in Leptis Magna (or Tripolitania). He was pope between 189-199 and is best known for his role in the Quartodeciman controversy between Rome and the bishops of Asia Minor over the dating of Easter. Victor called a meeting of Italian bishops at Rome, which is the earliest Roman synod known, says the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Pope St. Miltiades

Elected pope in 310 or 311, Miltiades was bishop of Rome when the edict of toleration was signed by the Emperors Galerius, Licinius, and Constantine, putting an end to the persecution of the Christians. After Constantine's victory at the Milvian Bridge in 312 and his entry into Rome, the emperor presented the Roman Church with the Lateran Palace, which then became the residence of the pope, and also the seat of the central administration of the Roman Church. Miltiades called a synod there to resolve a controversy with the Donatists. He condemned Donatus' teachings of rebaptism of repentant schismatic bishops and priests. He died in 314.

Pope St. Gelasius I

There is some controversy about whether Gelasius was born in Rome or Africa, but he was elected pope in 492. In a dispute with Constantinople, he made strong arguments for the primacy of the See of Rome over the Eastern Churches, based on Christ's declaration to St. Peter. He also abolished the pagan Roman feast of Lupercalia. He died in 496.

The Catholic Encyclopedia also takes not of his concern for the liturgy, saying that "in his zeal for the beauty and majesty of Divine service, Gelasius composed many hymns, prefaces, and collects, and arranged a standard Mass-book."