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St Pontian (230—235)

Calixtus (d. c. 222)


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St Anterus


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(21 Nov. 235–3 Jan. 236)

Successor to Pontian, who abdicated on 28 Sept. 235, he was, as his name suggests and LP confirms, of Greek extraction. Nothing is certainly known of his activities during his brief reign, which fell during the sharp persecution of Emperor Maximinus Thrax (235–8); LP's report that he collected and preserved the records of martyrs is plainly a romantic anachronism. It adds that he died a martyr, and he has often been represented as such. It is improbable, however, that he was; his name does not appear in early official lists of martyrs, and the 4th-century Liberian Catalogue pointedly remarks that he ‘fell asleep’, an expression it uses of popes who died a natural death. He was the first pope to be buried in the new papal crypt in the cemetery of Callistus, the body of his predecessor Pontian being placed there not long after. Large fragments of the inscription over his tomb, in Greek letters, have been found there. Feast 3 Jan.

Further Reading

Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 6. 29. 1LP i, pp. xcv–xcvi, 4 (Liberian Cat.), 147 (Davis 1: 8, 99, 108)Caspar i. 48 ff.DHGE iii. 520 f. (J. P. Kirsch)BSS ii. 51 f. (M. V. Brandi)

Subjects: Religion

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