Monday, August 18, 2008

Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus

These guys had their feast day on the 13th. Pontian was pope in the early third century. We really don't know anything else about him, other than that he was exiled to Sardinia by the Roman emperor and died there due to the poor conditions. Hippolytus is quite famous. Not only is he a saint, but he was also the first antipope.

Hippolytus basically had a theological throwdown with Popes Zephrynius and Callistus, so he figured he would set himself up as the "real" Bishop of Rome. He accused them of being Monarchians, while they said he was a ditheist. Hippolytus would outlive both of them and continue in his schism until he was exiled to Sardinia as well, where he reconciled with Pontian before dying himself.

There are bunches of Hippolytus's writings still with us today. You can read about his beefs with the popes in his Refutation of All Heresies. If you are looking for a good picture of 3rd century liturgical practice, his Apostolic Tradition is great. If you are an End Times nut, his work on the AntiChrist is very interesting and is good for refuting preterists.

Seeing how an antipope can come to his senses and renounce his schism, it gives us hope that the schismatics currently scattered throughout the world might also acquiesce to the call of grace and return to the bosom of the Church.

Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus, pray for us.

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