Saint Pope Pontian


Saint Pontian was Pope from July 21st 230 to September 235 where he was arrested during the persecution of Christians under Emperor Maximinus Thrax and sent to Sardinia.


Saint Pontian's father was a roman by the name of Calpurnius but very little else is known regarding his early life. He began his pontificate under the reign of Emperor Severus Alexander, a Roman Emperor who was relatively tolerant of the Christian religion. Saint Pontian presided over Origen's expulsion by Pope Demetrius I of Alexandria. The crowning of the next emperor, Maximinus Thrax, however, would bring the area of tolerance by the reigning Roman Emperors to an end.


Emperor Maximinus ordered both Pope Pontian and the Antipope Hippolytus of Rome to be arrested and exiled to the mines of Sardinia. Knowing the sentence was almost certainly one that meant death, Saint Pontian resigned his papacy, the first pope to do so in history His intentions for this resignation were to ensure an orderly transition in the Church and the action ended a schism eighteen years old in the Church. It is likely that Saint Pontian and Hippolytus reconciled with each other on the journey to Sardinia.


At Sardinia both were were beaten to death with Saint Pontian dying in October of 235. Saint Pope Fabian had the bodies of both men brought back to Rome in 236. Buried in the papal crypt in the Catacomb of Callixtus, Saint Pontian's tomb carries the inscription Ποντιανός Επίσκ with the inscription Martyr added right after it. Today both the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church celebrate Saint Pontian on August 13th. In the pre 1960 calendar, his feast day is celebrated on November 19th.

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