By RICHARD P. McBRIEN
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Additional info for The Pocket Guide to the Popes
The Annuario Pontiﬁcio, an ofﬁcial Vatican publication, identiﬁes the date of his termination from ofﬁce with his date of death (October 25, 304). His actions, however, would have automatically disqualiﬁed him from the priesthood and, therefore, from the papacy as well, as of about May 303. If he was deposed or voluntarily abdicated, we have no date for either event. Because of various reports of his execution by the emperor after allegedly repenting of his actions, Marcellinus came to be venerated as a martyr and his name was included in the ancient Roman Canon of the Mass.
Much of the information that survives about Callistus comes ﬁltered through the highly derogatory writings of St. Hippolytus (d. ca. 236), a leading and learned Roman presbyter who also had been a persistent critic of Callistus’s predecessor, Zephrynus. In his youth Callistus had been a slave of a Christian who set him up in banking, but eventually he became Pope Zephrynus’s deacon. Because of Zephrynus’s own intellectual and administrative limitations, Callistus exerted enormous inﬂuence and was elected to succeed him.
Feast day: May 25. 18 P O NTI A N [ P O N T I A N U S ] , ST . d. October 235, pope July 21, 230–September 28, 235 Pontian was the ﬁrst pope to abdicate the papal ofﬁce. He did so only because he had been deported by the new, anti-Christian emperor Maximinus Thrax to labor in the mines on the island of Sardinia, known as the “island of death,” from which few ever returned alive. Pontian did not want there to be a vacuum of leadership in the Roman church. All except the last few months of his pontiﬁcate had been peaceful because the tolerant Emperor Severus was still reigning.
The Pocket Guide to the Popes by RICHARD P. McBRIEN