Pope Pontian

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Pontian
18-St.Pontian.jpg
Papacy began21 July 230 (230-07-21)
Papacy ended28 September 235 (235-09-28)
Predecessor Urban I
Successor Anterus
Personal details
DiedOctober 235
Sardinia, Roman Empire
Sainthood
Feast day13 August (Eastern Orthodox Church, Catholic Church 1969 calendar)
19 November (Catholic Church 1960 calendar and prior)

Pope Pontian (Latin : Pontianus; died October 235) was Pope from 21 July 230 to 28 September 235. [1] In 235, during the persecution of Christians in the reign of the Emperor Maximinus Thrax, Pontian was arrested and sent to the island of Sardinia. He resigned to make the election of a new pope possible. [1]

Pope leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

Maximinus Thrax 3rd-century Roman Emperor

Maximinus Thrax, also known as Maximinus I, was Roman Emperor from 235 to 238.

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.

Contents

Biography

A little more is known of Pontian than his predecessors, apparently from a lost papal chronicle that was available to the compiler of the Liberian Catalogue of Bishops of Rome, written in the 4th century. The Liber Pontificalis states that he was a Roman citizen and that his father's name was Calpurnius. Early church historian Eusebius wrote that he reigned for six years. [2]

In compiling the history of the Early Christian Church, the Liberian Catalogue, which was part of the illuminated manuscript known as the Chronography of 354, is an essential document, for it consists of a list of the popes, designated bishops of Rome, ending with Pope Liberius, hence its name and approximate date. The list gives the lengths of their respective episcopates, the corresponding consular dates, and the names of the reigning emperors. In many cases there are other details. "The collection of tracts of which this forms a part was edited in 354" (CE). It now survives only in a copy.

<i>Liber Pontificalis</i> Book of biographies of popes

The Liber Pontificalis is a book of biographies of popes from Saint Peter until the 15th century. The original publication of the Liber Pontificalis stopped with Pope Adrian II (867–872) or Pope Stephen V (885–891), but it was later supplemented in a different style until Pope Eugene IV (1431–1447) and then Pope Pius II (1458–1464). Although quoted virtually uncritically from the 8th to 18th centuries, the Liber Pontificalis has undergone intense modern scholarly scrutiny. The work of the French priest Louis Duchesne, and of others has highlighted some of the underlying redactional motivations of different sections, though such interests are so disparate and varied as to render improbable one popularizer's claim that it is an "unofficial instrument of pontifical propaganda."

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.

Pontian's pontificate was initially relatively peaceful under the reign of the tolerant Emperor Severus Alexander. He presided over the Roman synod which approved Origen's expulsion and deposition by the Alexandrian bishop Demetrius in 230 or 231. [1] [2] According to Eusebius, the next emperor, Maximinus, overturned his predecessor's policy of tolerance towards Christianity. [3] Both Pope Pontian and the Antipope Hippolytus of Rome were arrested and exiled to labor in the mines of Sardinia, [4] generally regarded as a death sentence. [5]

Pontificate is the form of government used in Vatican City. The word came to English from French and simply means Papacy or "To perform the functions of the Pope or other high official in the Church." Since there is only one Bishop of Rome, or Pope, pontificate is sometimes also used to describe the era of a Pope. It must not be confused with the Holy See, which since ancient times referred to the episcopal see of Rome, while the Pontificate in the Vatican City is the type of government used there, and is neither a kingdom nor a republic.

Severus Alexander Roman Emperor

Severus Alexander was Roman Emperor from 222 to 235 and the last emperor of the Severan dynasty. He succeeded his cousin Elagabalus upon the latter's assassination in 222. His own assassination marked the epoch event for the Crisis of the Third Century—nearly 50 years of civil wars, foreign invasion, and collapse of the monetary economy, though this last part is now disputed.

Origen 3rd-century Christian scholar from Alexandria

Origen of Alexandria, also known as Origen Adamantius, was an early Christian scholar, ascetic, and theologian who was born and spent the first half of his career in Alexandria. He was a prolific writer who wrote roughly 2,000 treatises in multiple branches of theology, including textual criticism, biblical exegesis and biblical hermeneutics, homiletics, and spirituality. He was one of the most influential figures in early Christian theology, apologetics, and asceticism. He has been described as "the greatest genius the early church ever produced".

In light of his sentence, Pontian resigned as bishop (the first papal renunciation), so as to allow an orderly transition in the Church of Rome, on 28 September 235; this date was recorded in the Liberian Catalogue and is notable for being the first full date of a papal reign given by contemporaries. This action ended a schism that had existed in the Church for eighteen years. He was beaten to death with sticks. [2] [4] Neither Hippolytus nor Pontian survived, possibly reconciling with one another there or in Rome before their deaths. Pontian died in October 235. [6]

A papal renunciation occurs when the reigning pope of the Catholic Church voluntarily steps down from his position. As the reign of the pope has conventionally been from election until death, papal renunciation is an uncommon event. Before the 21st century, only five popes unambiguously resigned with historical certainty, all between the 10th and 15th centuries. Additionally, there are disputed claims of four popes having resigned, dating from the 3rd to the 11th centuries; a fifth disputed case may have involved an antipope.

A schism is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization, movement, or religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a split in what had previously been a single religious body, such as the East–West Schism or the Great Western Schism. It is also used of a split within a non-religious organization or movement or, more broadly, of a separation between two or more people, be it brothers, friends, lovers, etc.

Veneration

Pope Fabian had the bodies of both Pontian and Hippolytus brought back to Rome in 236 or 237, and the former buried in the papal crypt in the Catacomb of Callixtus on the Appian Way. [4] [7] The slab covering his tomb was discovered in 1909. On it is inscribed in Greek: Ποντιανός Επίσκ (Pontianus Episk; in English Pontianus Bish). The inscription "Μάρτυρ", "MARTUR" had been added in another hand. [1]

Pope Fabian pope

Pope Fabian was the Bishop of Rome from 10 January 236 to his death in 250, succeeding Anterus. He is famous for the miraculous nature of his election, in which a dove is said to have descended on his head to mark him as the Holy Spirit's unexpected choice to become the next pope. He was succeeded by Cornelius.

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.

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"

In the Eastern Orthodox Church and the General Roman Calendar of 1969, Pontian and Hippolytus are commemorated jointly on 13 August. [8] [9] In those Catholic communities which use a historical calendar such as the General Roman Calendar of 1960, Pontian's feast day is celebrated on 19 November. [10]

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 200–260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

Mysterii Paschalis is an apostolic letter issued motu proprio by Pope Paul VI on 14 February 1969. It reorganized the liturgical year of the Roman Rite and revised the liturgical celebrations of Jesus Christ and the saints in the General Roman Calendar.

This article lists the feast days of the General Roman Calendar as reformed on 25 July 1960 by Pope John XXIII's motu proprioRubricarum instructum. This 1960 calendar was incorporated into the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, continued use of which Pope Benedict XVI authorized in his 7 July 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum as an "extraordinary form of the Roman Rite".

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 Kirsch, Johann Peter (1911). "Pope St. Pontian" in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. 1 2 3 Kelly, J.N.D. (1986). The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 16.
  3. Papandrea, James L. (January 23, 2012). Reading the Early Church Fathers: From the Didache to Nicaea. Paulist Press. ISBN   978-0809147519.
  4. 1 2 3 Fr. Paolo O. Pirlo, SHMI (1997). "Sts. Pontian & Hippolytus". My First Book of Saints. Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate – Quality Catholic Publications. pp. 179–180. ISBN   978-971-91595-4-4.
  5. G. W. Clarke, "Some Victims of the Persecution of Maximinus Thrax," Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Bd. 15, H. 4 (November 1966): pp. 445-453.
  6. Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2000), 45.
  7. McBrien, Lives of the Popes, 45.
  8. http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/stdaug.htm
  9. Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 146
  10. Catholic Encyclopedia.

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References

Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Urban I
Bishop of Rome
Pope

230–235
Succeeded by
Anterus