August Europe Martyrs Popes Priests Saints

Saints Pontian and Hippolytus

Feast Day: August 13

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Today we are feasting with… Saints Pontian and Hippolytus.

Saints Pontian and Hippolytus

The Pope and the Anti-pope

Hippolytus was a brilliant man, an eloquent speaker, and an important writer in the Church. (Saint Hippolytus wrote the second Eucharistic prayer that we use today.) Unfortunately, he strongly believed that the Church should treat sinners strictly and often criticized Pope Callistus for being too lenient. Frustrated with Callistus’ leadership, Hippolytus gathered a loyal group of followers who elected Hippolytus as Pope while Callistus still held the office. This election made Hippolytus our first Antipope, and he would hold this schism for several years.

In the year of our Lord 230, Pontian became the eighteenth Pope. Hippolytus thought Pontian was similar to Popes Callistus and Urban, and often argued with Pontian about the way the Church should treat sinners.

Christian Persecution

In 235, Roman Emperor Maximinus Thrax banished Pope Pontian to work in the salt mines on the island of Sardinia. Pope Pontian resigned as a result of his exile, enabling the election of a new Pope to lead the Church. After the election, Maximinus Thrax captured Hippolytus and sent him to work in the same salt mine as Pope Pontian.

Hippolytus and Pontian grew closer to each other while imprisoned. This closeness was due to the cruel treatment and bitter work they were forced to endure together. Hippolytus eventually repented to Pontian and the Church. Soon after their reconciliation, Hippolytus and Pontian died from the harsh conditions in the mines of Sardinia. Their bodies were brought back to Rome and buried with solemn rights.

Saints Pontian and Hippolytus celebrate their feast day on August 13.

Saints Pontian and Hippolytus, pray for us!

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