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Saint Pontian

Saint Pontian
  • Century: 3rd Century
  • Patronage: Mines, Mine Workers
  • Feast Day: August 13th

St. Pontian was the Pope from July 21, 230 until September 29th, 235.  Although little is known about his birth, life and death, more is known of Pontian than his predecessors.  The Liberian Catalogue of Bishops of Rome from the fourth century, apparently was lost for a period of time.  

During his pontificate, the schism of Hippolytus of Rome came to an end.  St. Pontian and other church leaders (among Hippolytus) were exiled by the emperor Maximinus Thrax to Sardinia, and because of this sentence he resigned in September of 235.  Little is known of how long he lived in exile.  According to the Liber Pontificalis, he died due to the inhuman treatment and hardships he received whin in exile in the Sardinian mines.  According to tradition, he died on the Island of Tavolara.    

His feast day is celebrated jointly with Hippolytus, on August 13th, throughout the Church.  His remains were brought to Rome by Pope Fabian, and burried in the Catacomb of Pope Callixtus I.  He epitaph was rediscovered in 1909 in the Catacomb of Callixtus, near the papal crypt reading, “PONTIANOS, EPISK”.  The inscription “MARTUR” had been added at a later date.  

St. Pontian the Pope begins the brief chronicle of the Roman Bishops of the third century, while the author of the Liberian Catalogue of the Popes gives much more data for the lives of the Popes.  The Liberian Catalogue didn’t start until the fourth century.  

Practical Take Away

St. Pontian was the Pope from 230 – 235.  He did not die in office, but was exiled into another land along with other Church leaders.  He died from inhuman conditions while being exiled and working in the mines in that exiled land.  His life shows us that the early Popes and leaders of our church were willing to sacrifice their own lives to promulgate the faith for future generations.  He willing accepted being exiled to defend the faith, knowing that the conditions he was to face, could bring death.  He willingly went into exile, and became a great martyr for the faith, dying in inhuman conditions.  With our forefathers of the Catholic Church being so willing to sacrifice their very lives, we too, should be willing to at least venerate them for their sacrifice, ask for their intercession, and to learn the faith that they so willingly died for.