He was a Roman by birth, and his father's name was Pastor. According to the "Liber Pontificalis" (ed. Duchesne, I, 128), he passed the following three ordinances: that none but sacred ministers are allowed to touch the sacred vessels; that bishops who have been summoned to the Holy See shall, upon their return, not be received by their diocese except on presenting Apostolic letters; that after the Preface in the Mass the priest shall recite the Sanctus with the people.
The "Felician Catalogue" of popes and the various martyrologies give him the title of martyr. He was buried in the Vatican, beside the tomb of St. Peter. His relics are said to have been transferred to Alatri in 1132, though O Jozzi ("Il corpo di S. Sisto I., papa e martire rivendicato alla basilica Vaticana", Rome, 1900) contends that they are still in the Vatican Basilica. Butler (Lives of the Saints, 6 April) states that Clement X gave some of his relics to Cardinal de Retz, who placed them in the Abbey of St. Michael in Lorraine. The Xystus who is commemorated in the Canon of the Mass is Xystus II, not Xystus I.