Pope Callixtus I

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Pope Saint

Callixtus I
Bishop of Rome
16-St.Callixtus I.jpg
Papacy beganc. 218
Papacy endedc. 222
Predecessor Zephyrinus
Successor Urban I
Personal details
Birth nameCallixtus or Callistus
Died222
Rome [1]
Sainthood
Feast day14 October
Patronage Cemetery workers [2]
Other popes named Callixtus

Pope Callixtus I (died 222), also called Callistus I, Hijazi Arabic : كاليكطس(Kaliktus), was the Bishop of Rome (according to Sextus Julius Africanus) from c. 218 to his death c. 222 or 223. [3] He lived during the reigns of the Roman Emperors Elagabalus and Alexander Severus. Eusebius and the Liberian catalogue gave him five years of episcopate (217–222). He was martyred for his Christian faith and is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church.

Sextus Julius Africanus was a Christian traveler and historian of the late second and early third centuries. He is important chiefly because of his influence on Eusebius, on all the later writers of Church history among the Church Fathers, and on the whole Greek school of chroniclers.

Elagabalus Roman Emperor

Elagabalus, also known as Heliogabalus, was Roman emperor from 218 to 222. A member of the Severan dynasty, he was Syrian, the second son of Julia Soaemias and Sextus Varius Marcellus. In his early youth he served the god Elagabalus as a priest in Emesa, the hometown of his mother's family. As a private citizen, he was probably named Sextus Varius Avitus Bassianus. Upon becoming emperor he took the name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus. He was called Elagabalus only after his death.

Eusebius Greek church historian

Eusebius of Caesarea, also known as Eusebius Pamphili, was a historian of Christianity, exegete, and Christian polemicist. He became the bishop of Caesarea Maritima about 314 AD. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon and is regarded as an extremely learned Christian of his time. He wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, and On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As "Father of Church History", he produced the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs. He also produced a biographical work on the first Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great, who ruled between 306 and 337 AD.

Contents

Life

His contemporaries and enemies, Tertullian and Hippolytus of Rome the author of Philosophumena , relate that Callixtus, as a young slave from Rome, was put in charge of collected funds by his master Carpophorus, funds which were given as alms by other Christians for the care of widows and orphans; Callixtus lost the funds and fled from the city, but was caught near Portus. [4] According to the tale, Callixtus jumped overboard to avoid capture but was rescued and taken back to his master. He was released at the request of the creditors, who hoped he might be able to recover some of the money, but was rearrested for fighting in a synagogue when he tried to borrow money or collect debts from some Jews. [3]

Tertullian Christian theologian

Tertullian was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. Of Berber origin, he was the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was an early Christian apologist and a polemicist against heresy, including contemporary Christian Gnosticism. Tertullian has been called "the father of Latin Christianity" and "the founder of Western theology."

Hippolytus of Rome 3rd-century theologian in the Christian Church

Hippolytus was one of the most important second-third century Christian theologians, whose provenance, identity and corpus remain elusive to scholars and historians. Suggested communities include Palestine, Egypt, Anatolia, Rome and regions of the mideast. The best historians of literature in the ancient church, including Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome, openly confess they cannot name where Hippolytus the biblical commentator and theologian served in leadership. They had read his works but did not possess evidence of his community. Photios I of Constantinople describes him in his Bibliotheca as a disciple of Irenaeus, who was said to be a disciple of Polycarp, and from the context of this passage it is supposed that he suggested that Hippolytus so styled himself. This assertion is doubtful. One older theory asserts he came into conflict with the popes of his time and seems to have headed a schismatic group as a rival to the Bishop of Rome, thus becoming an Antipope. In this view, he opposed the Roman Popes who softened the penitential system to accommodate the large number of new pagan converts. However, he was reconciled to the Church before he died as a martyr.

Slavery System under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work

Slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration. Many scholars now use the term chattel slavery to refer to this specific sense of legalised, de jure slavery. In a broader sense, however, the word slavery may also refer to any situation in which an individual is de facto forced to work against their own will. Scholars also use the more generic terms such as unfree labour or forced labour to refer to such situations. However, and especially under slavery in broader senses of the word, slaves may have some rights and protections according to laws or customs.

Statue of Pope Callixtus I, Cathedral of Reims Reims-Portail Nord-St Calixte.jpg
Statue of Pope Callixtus I, Cathedral of Reims

Philosophumena claims that, denounced as a Christian, Callixtus was sentenced to work in the mines of Sardinia. [4] He was released with other Christians at the request of Hyacinthus, a eunuch presbyter, who represented Marcia, the favourite mistress of Emperor Commodus. [4] At this time his health was so weakened that his fellow Christians sent him to Antium to recuperate and he was given a pension by Pope Victor I. [3]

Sardinia Island in the Mediterranean and region of Italy

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of the Italian Peninsula and to the immediate south of the French island of Corsica.

In the New Testament, a presbyter is a leader of a local Christian congregation. The word derives from the Greek presbyteros, which means elder or senior. The Greek word episkopos literally means overseer; it refers exclusively to the office of bishop. Many understand presbyteros to refer to the bishop functioning as overseer. In modern Catholic and Orthodox usage, presbyter is distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest. In predominant Protestant usage, presbyter does not refer to a member of a distinctive priesthood called priests, but rather to a minister, pastor, or elder.

Marcia Aurelia Ceionia Demetrias was the mistress and one of the assassins of 2nd century AD Roman Emperor Commodus from 182–93. Marcia was the daughter of Marcia Aurelius Sabinianus, a freedwoman of the co-emperor Lucius Verus.

In 199, Callixtus was ordained a deacon by Pope Zephyrinus and appointed superintendent of the Christian cemetery on the Appian Way. That place, which is to this day called the Catacombs of St. Callixtus , became the burial-ground of many popes and was the first land property owned by the Church. [4] Emperor Julian the Apostate, writing to a pagan priest, said: [4]

Pope Zephyrinus pope

Pope Zephyrinus was Bishop of Rome or pope from 199 to his death in 217. He was born in Rome. His predecessor was Pope Victor I. Upon his death on 20 December 217, he was succeeded by his principal advisor, Pope Callixtus I. He is known for combatting heresies and defending the divinity of Christ.

Appian Way Roman road

The Appian Way is one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads of the ancient republic. It connected Rome to Brindisi, in southeast Italy. Its importance is indicated by its common name, recorded by Statius:

Appia longarum... regina viarum

"the Appian Way the queen of the long roads"

Catacomb of Callixtus catacomb in Rome

The Catacomb(s) of Callixtus is one of the Catacombs of Rome on the Appian Way, most notable for containing the Crypt of the Popes, which once contained the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries.

Christians have gained most popularity because of their charity to strangers and because of their care for the burial of their dead.

In the third century, nine Bishops of Rome were interred in the Catacomb of Callixtus, in the part now called the Capella dei Papi. These catacombs were rediscovered by the archaeologist Giovanni Battista de Rossi in 1849.

Giovanni Battista de Rossi Italian archaeologist

Giovanni Battista (Carlo) de Rossi was an Italian archaeologist, famous even outside his field for rediscovering early Christian catacombs.

In 217, when Callixtus followed Zephyrinus as Bishop of Rome, he started to admit into the church converts from sects or schisms who had not done penance. [5] He fought with success the heretics, and established the practice of absolution of all sins, including adultery and murder. [4] Hippolytus found Callixtus's policy of extending forgiveness of sins to cover sexual transgressions shockingly lax and denounced him for allowing believers to regularize liaisons with their own slaves by recognizing them as valid marriages. [6] [7] As a consequence also of doctrinal differences, Hippolytus was elected as a rival bishop of Rome, the first antipope. [8]

An antipope is a person who has a competing claim to be the pope. This is in opposition to the one who is generally seen as the legitimately elected pope, the Bishop of Rome, and leader of the Roman Catholic Church. At times between the 3rd and mid-15th centuries, antipopes were supported by a fairly significant faction of religious cardinals and secular or anti-religious monarchs and kingdoms. Persons who claim to be pope, but have few followers, such as the modern sedevacantist antipopes, are not classified with the historical antipopes.

The Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere was a titulus of which Callixtus was the patron. In an apocryphal anecdote in the collection of imperial biographies called the Augustan History , the spot on which he had built an oratory was claimed by tavern keepers, but Alexander Severus decided that the worship of any god was better than a tavern, hence the structure's name. The 4th-century basilica of Ss Callixti et Iuliani was rebuilt in the 12th century by Pope Innocent II and rededicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The 8th-century Chiesa di San Callisto is close by, with its beginnings apparently as a shrine on the site of his martyrdom, which is attested in the 4th-century Depositio martyrum and so is likely to be historical.

Death

It is possible that Callixtus was martyred around 222 or 223, perhaps during a popular uprising, but the legend that he was thrown down a well has no historical foundation, though the church does contain an ancient well. According to the apocryphal Acts of Saint Callixtus, Asterius, a priest of Rome, recovered the body of Callixtus after it had been tossed into a well and buried Callixtus' body at night. [9] Asterius was arrested for this action by the prefect Alexander and then killed by being thrown off a bridge into the Tiber River. [9]

He was buried in the cemetery of Calepodius on the Aurelian Way [4] [10] and his anniversary is given by the 4th-century Depositio Martirum and by subsequent martyrologies on 14 October. The Catholic Church celebrates his optional memorial on 14 October. His relics were transferred in the 9th century to Santa Maria in Trastevere. [11]

See also

Citations

  1. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Saint Calixtus I". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  2. Jones, Tery M. "Pope Saint Callistus I". Saints.SQPN.com. Star Quest Publication Network. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 Chapman, John (1908). "Pope Callistus I" in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Fr. Paolo O. Pirlo, SHMI (1997). "St. Callistus I". My First Book of Saints. Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate - Quality Catholic Publications. p. 240. ISBN   978-971-91595-4-4.
  5. Philosophoumena IX.7
  6. Pagels, Elaine (1979). The Gnostic Gospels. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 108.
  7. Hippolytus. Refutation of all heresies. Book 9 Ch. 7.
  8. "Saint Hippolytus of Rome". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  9. 1 2 Sabine Baring-Gould, The Lives of the Saints. Vol. 2. (J. Hodges, 1877). Digitized 6 June 2007. Page 506.
  10. Matilda Webb (2001). The Churches and Catacombs of Early Christian Rome: A Comprehensive Guide. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 229–. ISBN   978-1-902210-57-5.
  11. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Callistus I"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.

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References

Further reading

Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Zephyrinus
Bishop of Rome
Pope

217–222
Succeeded by
Urban I