Saint of the Day ~ August 13

SAINT PONTIAN (?-c.235), pope and martyr and

SAINT HIPPOLYTUS (?-c.236), priest and martyr

Today, the Church honors Saints Pontian and Hippolytus, both martyred for their faith in the mines of Sardinia under the persecution of the Roman emperor, Maximinus.

Pontian became pope after the death of Pope St. Urban I in the year 230. Prior to his pontificate, however, and prior to the reign of Urban I, Hippolytus, who was a presbyter (Catholic priest) in Rome and a theologian, had publicly censured Pope Callistus I, accusing him of being too lenient with penitents, and had himself elected “antipope” by a group of followers.

Hippolytus felt that the Church must be composed of pure souls uncompromisingly separated from the world, and evidently thought that his group fitted this description. He remained in schism even throughout the pontifical reign of Urban I and into the reign of Pontian. It was during Pontian’s pontificate, however, that Pontian helped Hippolytus reconcile with the Church, thus ending the schism that lasted for more than 18 years.

In the year 235, Maximinus became the Roman emperor, and, almost immediately, began a persecution of the Christians, beginning with bishops and priests, including both Pope Pontian and Father Hippolytus, sending them into the dangerous and unhealthy mine fields in Sardinia, Italy.

When Pope Pontian was sent into exile to the mines, believing that his death was near, he abdicated the papacy on September 28, 235, making it possible for the election of a new pope to lead the Church.

Due to the terrible treatment received in the mines, both Pontian and Hippolytus, together now as friends, received their crowns of martyrdom, Pope Pontian about the year 235 and Father Hippolytus about one year later. Their bodies were brought back to Rome and buried with solemn rites as martyrs.

We commemorate their joint feastday on August 13.

(From,,, and



(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saints Pontian and Hippolytus)

“Lord, may the loyal suffering of Your saints, Pontian and Hippolytus, fill us with Your Love and make our hearts steadfast in faith.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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