Born in the then Western Roman Empire in North Africa in the fifth century, St Gelasius' roots are traced to Tunisia.
PopeHistory says that Gelasius was born into the crumbling Roman empire before it fell to the Vandal barbarians and that when asked about his origin, he would say, “I was born a Roman in Africa.”
Pope Gelasius I is the third Pontiff of African descent. He served as the 49th Pope from 492 to 496. Other African Popes that served before Pope Gelasius I were St. Victor and St. Melchiades.
Pope Victor is said to have been a Deacon when he became the first black Pope, the 14th Pope in 189 A.D. He established a set date for the yearly celebration of Easter. Pope Victor died a martyr for the faith in 199.
Pope Melchiades, on his part, served as the Church’s second black Pope, the 32nd Pope, from 311 to 314. He signed the Emperor Constantine’s laws that ended persecutions and made Christianity the established religion of the Roman Empire.
Pope Gelasius I is said to have served for only four years. He was already 82 years old when he ascended to the office of the Papacy, succeeding Pope Felix III. He died of old age at 86.