Pope Callixtus I

Pope Callixtus I (died 222), also called Callistus I, was the Bishop of Rome (according to Sextus Julius Africanus) from c. 218 to his death c. 222 or 223.[3] He lived during the reigns of the Roman Emperors Elagabalus and Alexander Severus. Eusebius and the Liberian catalogue gave him five years of episcopate (217–222). He was martyred for his Christian faith and is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church.

Pope Saint

Callixtus I
16-St.Callixtus I
Papacy beganc. 218
Papacy endedc. 222
SuccessorUrban I
Personal details
Birth nameCallixtus or Callistus
Feast day14 October
PatronageCemetery workers[2]
Other popes named Callixtus


His contemporaries and enemies, Tertullian and Hippolytus of Rome the author of Philosophumena, relate that Callixtus, as a young slave from Rome, was put in charge of collected funds by his master Carpophorus, funds which were given as alms by other Christians for the care of widows and orphans; Callixtus lost the funds and fled from the city, but was caught near Portus.[4] According to the tale, Callixtus jumped overboard to avoid capture but was rescued and taken back to his master. He was released at the request of the creditors, who hoped he might be able to recover some of the money, but was rearrested for fighting in a synagogue when he tried to borrow money or collect debts from some Jews.[3]

Reims-Portail Nord-St Calixte
Statue of Pope Callixtus I, Cathedral of Reims

Philosophumena claims that, denounced as a Christian, Callixtus was sentenced to work in the mines of Sardinia.[4] He was released with other Christians at the request of Hyacinthus, a eunuch presbyter, who represented Marcia, the favourite mistress of Emperor Commodus.[4] At this time his health was so weakened that his fellow Christians sent him to Antium to recuperate and he was given a pension by Pope Victor I.[3]

In 199, Callixtus was ordained a deacon by Pope Zephyrinus and appointed superintendent of the Christian cemetery on the Appian Way. That place, which is to this day called the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, became the burial-ground of many popes and was the first land property owned by the Church.[4] Emperor Julian the Apostate, writing to a pagan priest, said:[4]

Christians have gained most popularity because of their charity to strangers and because of their care for the burial of their dead.

In the third century, nine Bishops of Rome were interred in the Catacomb of Callixtus, in the part now called the Capella dei Papi. These catacombs were rediscovered by the archaeologist Giovanni Battista de Rossi in 1849.

In 217, when Callixtus followed Zephyrinus as Bishop of Rome, he started to admit into the church converts from sects or schisms who had not done penance.[5] He fought with success the heretics, and established the practice of absolution of all sins, including adultery and murder.[4] Hippolytus found Callixtus's policy of extending forgiveness of sins to cover sexual transgressions shockingly lax and denounced him for allowing believers to regularize liaisons with their own slaves by recognizing them as valid marriages.[6][7] As a consequence also of doctrinal differences, Hippolytus was elected as a rival bishop of Rome, the first antipope.[8]

The Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere was a titulus of which Callixtus was the patron. In an apocryphal anecdote in the collection of imperial biographies called the Augustan History, the spot on which he had built an oratory was claimed by tavern keepers, but Alexander Severus decided that the worship of any god was better than a tavern, hence the structure's name. The 4th-century basilica of Ss Callixti et Iuliani was rebuilt in the 12th century by Pope Innocent II and rededicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The 8th-century Chiesa di San Callisto is close by, with its beginnings apparently as a shrine on the site of his martyrdom, which is attested in the 4th-century Depositio martyrum and so is likely to be historical.


It is possible that Callixtus was martyred around 222 or 223, perhaps during a popular uprising, but the legend that he was thrown down a well has no historical foundation, though the church does contain an ancient well. According to the apocryphal Acts of Saint Callixtus, Asterius, a priest of Rome, recovered the body of Callixtus after it had been tossed into a well and buried Callixtus' body at night.[9] Asterius was arrested for this action by the prefect Alexander and then killed by being thrown off a bridge into the Tiber River.[9]

He was buried in the cemetery of Calepodius on the Aurelian Way[4][10] and his anniversary is given by the 4th-century Depositio Martirum and by subsequent martyrologies on 14 October. The Catholic Church celebrates his optional memorial on 14 October. His relics were transferred in the 9th century to Santa Maria in Trastevere.[11]

See also


  1. ^ The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Saint Calixtus I". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  2. ^ Jones, Tery M. "Pope Saint Callistus I". Saints.SQPN.com. Star Quest Publication Network. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Chapman, John (1908). "Pope Callistus I" in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Fr. Paolo O. Pirlo, SHMI (1997). "St. Callistus I". My First Book of Saints. Sons of Holy Mary Immaculate - Quality Catholic Publications. p. 240. ISBN 978-971-91595-4-4.
  5. ^ Philosophoumena IX.7
  6. ^ Pagels, Elaine (1979). The Gnostic Gospels. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 108.
  7. ^ Hippolytus. Refutation of all heresies. Book 9 Ch. 7.
  8. ^ "Saint Hippolytus of Rome". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  9. ^ a b Sabine Baring-Gould, The Lives of the Saints. Vol. 2. (J. Hodges, 1877). Digitized 6 June 2007. Page 506.
  10. ^ Matilda Webb (2001). The Churches and Catacombs of Early Christian Rome: A Comprehensive Guide. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 229–. ISBN 978-1-902210-57-5.
  11. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Callistus I" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.


  • Kelly, J. N. D. (2006). Oxford Dictionary of the Popes (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 13–4. ISBN 978-0198614333.

Further reading

  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1975). "Calixt I". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 1. Hamm: Bautz. cols. 858–859. ISBN 3-88309-013-1.
  • Pope Callistus I.) 
  • András Handl (2014). Bishop Callistus I. of Rome (217?−222?): A Martyr or a Confessor? In Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum/Journal of Ancient Christianity 18, p. 390-419.

External links

Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Bishop of Rome

Succeeded by
Urban I

The 220s decade ran from January 1, 220, to December 31, 229.

== Events ==

=== 220 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

The Goths invade Asia Minor and the Balkans.

An Indian delegation visits the Roman emperor Elagabalus.

Great frost in England is said to have lasted for five months.

Imperator Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Elagabalus) and Publius Valerius Comazon become Roman consuls.

Elagabalus divorces Julia Paula and marries Aquilia Severa, a Vestal Virgin. The wedding causes an enormous controversy – traditionally, the punishment for breaking celibacy is death by being buried alive.

King Ardashir I, founder of the Sassanid dynasty, gains support from some Parthian sub-kings and revolts against the rule of Vologases VI. Ardashir, a grandson of Sasan, had ruled Persis since 208 and six years earlier gained control of the region surrounding Persepolis.

====== China ======

March 15 – Cao Cao, Imperial Chancellor and ruler of the Kingdom of Wei dies.

December 11 – Cao Pi receives the abdication of Emperor Xian of Han and proclaims himself emperor of Cao Wei. This ends the Han dynasty, the former emperor being created Duke of Shanyang.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

The Wei dynasty will give official recognition to Taoism as its religious sect, and the sect's celestial masters will reciprocate by giving spiritual approbation to the Wei as successors to the Han. By the end of the century most powerful families in northern China will subscribe to Daoist principles.

=== 221 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

June 26 – Emperor Elagabalus adopts his cousin Alexander Severus as his heir and receives the title of Caesar.

July – Elagabalus is forced to divorce Aquilia Severa and marries his third wife Annia Faustina. After five months he returns to Severa and claims that the original divorce is invalid. The marriage is symbolic, because Elagabalus appears to be homosexual or bisexual. According to the historian Cassius Dio, he has a stable relationship with his chariot driver, the slave Hierocles.

====== China ======

May 15 – Liu Bei, Chinese warlord and descendant of the imperial clan of the Han dynasty, proclaims himself emperor in Chengdu, Sichuan and establishes the state of Shu Han.

=== 222 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

March 11 – Emperor Elagabalus is assassinated, along with his mother, Julia Soaemias, by the Praetorian Guard during a revolt. Their mutilated bodies are dragged through the streets of Rome before being thrown into the Tiber.

Alexander Severus succeeds Elagabalus. He is only 13 years old; his mother, Julia Avita Mamaea, governs the Roman Empire with the help of Domitius Ulpianus and a council composed of 16 senators.

====== China ======

Battle of Xiaoting/Yiling between the Chinese states of Shu Han and Eastern Wu

==== By topic ====

====== Commerce ======

The silver content of the Roman denarius falls to 35 percent under emperor Alexander Severus, down from 43 percent under Elagabalus.

====== Religion ======

October 14 – Pope Callixtus I is killed by a mob in Rome's Trastevere after a 5-year reign in which he has stabilized the Saturday fast three times per year, with no food, oil, or wine to be consumed on those days. Callixtus is succeeded by Cardinal Urban I.

=== 223 ===

==== By place ====

====== China ======

Battle of Dongkou between the Chinese states of Cao Wei and Eastern Wu

=== 224 ===

==== By place ====

====== Parthia ======

April 28 – King Ardashir I defeats Artabanus V at the Battle of Hormozdgan in Shushtar, destroying the Parthian Empire and establishing the Sassanid dynasty. Artabanus V's brother Vologases VI will continue to rule with Armenian and Kushan support over outlying parts of Parthia.

=== 225 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Alexander Severus marries Sallustia Orbiana, and possibly raises her father Seius Sallustius to the rank of caesar.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and Science ======

The first Christian paintings appear in Rome, decorating the Catacombs.

=== 226 ===

==== By place ====

====== China ======

A merchant from the Roman Empire called "Qin Lun" by the Chinese, arrives in Jiaozhi (modern Hanoi) and is taken to see Sun Quan, king of Eastern Wu, who requests him to make a report on his native country and people. He is given an escort for the return trip including a present of ten male and ten female "blackish-coloured dwarfs." However, the officer in charge of the Chinese escort dies and Qin Lun has to continue his journey home alone.

=== 227 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Seius Sallustius is executed for the attempted murder of his son-in-law Emperor Alexander Severus. Sallustius' daughter, as well Alexander's wife, Sallustia Orbiana, is exiled in Libya.

====== Ireland ======

The rule of High King Cormac mac Airt begins (approximate).

====== Persia ======

King Ardashir I, ruler of Persia, annexes his new empire from the east to the northwest. He conquers with his army the provinces of Chorasmia, Sistan and the island Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. The kings of the Kushan Empire and Turan recognise Ardashir as their overlord.

====== Korea ======

Dongcheon becomes ruler over the Korean kingdom of Goguryeo.

=== 228 ===

==== Roman Empire ====

The Praetorian Guard kill Ulpian, Praetorian prefect, who had wanted to reduce their privileges.

==== Persia ====

Shah Ardashir I, four years after establishing the Sassanid Persian Empire, completes his conquest of Parthia.

==== China ====

The Battle of Jieting and the Battle of Shiting are fought in China.

=== 229 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Alexander Severus and Dio Cassius are joint Consuls.

==== China ====

June 23 – Chinese warlord Sun Quan formally declares himself emperor of the state of Eastern Wu. The city of Jianye (modern Nanjing) is founded as the capital of Eastern Wu. The independent kingdoms in Cambodia and Laos become Eastern Wu vassals.

Eastern Wu merchants reach Vietnam; ocean transport is improved to an extent that sea journeys are made to Manchuria and the island of Taiwan.

Battle of Jianwei between the Chinese states of Shu Han and Cao Wei

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

Ammonius Saccas renews Greek philosophy by creating Neoplatonism.


Year 222 (CCXXII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Antoninus and Severus (or, less frequently, year 975 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 222 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Alcibiades of Apamea

Alcibiades of Apamea (fl. 230) was a Jewish Christian member of, or possibly even founder of, the Elcesaites. Of the several cities called Apamea it is Apamea in Syria which is intended. He is known only from the accounts of Hippolytus of Rome in his Refutations (Refutatio omnium haeresium, Book 10 ch. 9–13), where he follows on from Hippolytus' attacks on Pope Callixtus I:

Hippolytus 10.9

Asterius of Ostia

Saint Asterius of Ostia (d. 3rd century AD) was a martyred priest. Information on this saint is based on the apocryphal Acts of Saint Callixtus. According to tradition, he was a priest of Rome who recovered the body of Pope Callixtus I after it had been tossed into a well around 222 AD. Asterius buried Callixtus' body at night but was arrested for this action by the prefect Alexander and then killed by being thrown off a bridge into the Tiber River.According to tradition, his body washed up at Ostia and was buried there.

Calendar of saints

The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the day as the feast day or feast of said saint. The word "feast" in this context does not mean "a large meal, typically a celebratory one", but instead "an annual religious celebration, a day dedicated to a particular saint".The system arose from the early Christian custom of commemorating each martyr annually on the date of their death, or birth into heaven, a date therefore referred to in Latin as the martyr's dies natalis ("day of birth"). In the Eastern Orthodox Church, a calendar of saints is called a Menologion. "Menologion" may also mean a set of icons on which saints are depicted in the order of the dates of their feasts, often made in two panels.

Catacomb of Calepodius

The Catacomb of Calepodius (also called the Cemetery of Calepodius) is one of the Catacombs of Rome, notable for containing the tombs of Pope Callixtus I (ironically, the creator of the Catacomb of Callixtus, which once contained the tombs of a dozen other popes) and Pope Julius I, along with the eponymous Calepodius.

Catacomb of Callixtus

The Catacomb(s) of Callixtus (also known as the Cemetery of Callixtus) is one of the Catacombs of Rome on the Appian Way, most notable for containing the Crypt of the Popes (Italian: Cappella dei Papi), which once contained the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries.

Colegio San Calixto, La Paz

Colegio San Calixto, La Paz, was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1882, at the instigation of Monsignor Calixto Clavijo, and in his honour named for the third century martyr Pope Callixtus I. It offers primary and secondary education.

The school began in the residence of Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz, now a national monument. The Jesuits began teaching with around 40 students. Over the years other works became associated with the Jesuit college including San Calixto Observatory.Also, the school's Radio Fides was a pioneer in the business, beginning broadcasting in 1939.

Palazzo San Callisto

The Palazzo San Callisto (also known as the Palace of Saint Callixtus) is a small palace in Rome and one of the extraterritorial Properties of the Holy See. The original Palazzo is located in the Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, the later extensions have their entrance in Piazza di San Callisto. The entire complex is one of the areas of the Holy See regulated by the 1929 Lateran Treaty signed with the Kingdom of Italy. As such it has extraterritorial status.

The Palazzo San Callisto was named in honour of Pope Callixtus I and is now home to:

The Pontifical Council for the Laity

The Pontifical Council for the Family

Caritas Internationalis

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

The International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services

and a number of other Catholic organisations that are part of or directly linked to the Holy See.In 1990, the Palazzo was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Register.


In Christian theology, patripassianism (as it is referred to in the Western church) is a version of Sabellianism in the Eastern church (and a version of modalism, modalistic monarchianism, or modal monarchism). Modalism is the belief that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are three different modes or aspects of one monadic God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons within the Godhead – that there are no real or substantial differences between the three, such that there is no substantial identity for the Spirit or the Son.In the West, a version of this belief was known as patripassianism (from Latin patri- "father" and passio "suffering"), because the teaching required that since God the Father had become directly incarnate in Christ, that God literally sacrificed Himself on the Cross.

Pope Calixtus

Pope Calixtus can refer to three different popes:

Pope Callixtus I, pope from about 217 to about 222

Pope Callixtus II, pope from 1119 to 1124

Pope Callixtus III, pope from 1455 to 1458

Pope Callixtus

Pope Callixtus has been the papal name of three popes of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Callixtus I (217–222)

Pope Callixtus II (1119–1124)

Pope Callixtus III (1455–1458)

Pope Urban I

Pope Urban I (Latin: Urbanus I) was Bishop of Rome or Pope from 222 to 23 May 230. He was born in Rome and succeeded Pope Callixtus I, who had been martyred. It was previously believed for centuries that Urban I was also martyred. However, recent historical discoveries now lead scholars to believe that he died of natural causes.

Pope Zephyrinus

Pope Zephyrinus (died 20 December 217) was Bishop of Rome or Pope from 199 to his death in 217. He was born in Rome. His predecessor was Pope Victor I. Upon his death on 20 December 217, he was succeeded by his principal advisor, Pope Callixtus I. He is known for combatting heresies and defending the divinity of Christ.


Praxeas was a Monarchian from Asia Minor who lived in the end of the 2nd century/beginning of the 3rd century. He believed in the unity of the Godhead and vehemently disagreed with any attempt at division of the personalities or personages of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Christian Church. He was opposed by Tertullian in his tract Against Praxeas (Adversus Praxean), and was influential in preventing the Roman Church from granting recognition to the New Prophecy.

An early anti-Montanist, he is known only by virtue of Tertullian's book "Adversus Praxean". His name in the list of heresies appended to the "De Praescriptionibus" of that writer (an anonymous epitome of the lost "Syntagma" of Hippolytus) is a correction made by some ancient diorthotes for Noetus.He came to Carthage before Tertullian had renounced the Catholic communion (c. 206-8). He taught Monarchian doctrine there, or at least a doctrine which Tertullian regarded as Monarchian: "Paracletum fugavit et patrem crucifixit."- "Having driven out the Paraclete, he [Montanus] now crucified the Father". He was refuted, evidently by Tertullian himself, and gave an explanation or recantation in writing, the "carnal" as he affects to call them, which, when Tertullian wrote several years afterwards, was still in the hands of the authorities of the Carthaginian Church. When Tertullian wrote, he himself was no longer in the Church; Monarchianism had sprung up again, but Tertullian does not mention its leaders at Rome, and directs his whole argument against his old enemy Praxeas.

But the arguments which he refutes are doubtless those of Epigonus and Cleomenes. There is little reason for thinking that Praxeas was a heresiarch, and less for identifying him with Noetus, or one of his disciples. He was very likely merely an adversary of the Montanists who used some quasi-Monarchian expressions when at Carthage, but afterwards revised them when he saw they might be misunderstood.

Santa Maria in Trastevere

The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere (Italian: Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere); English: Our Lady in Trastevere) is a titular minor basilica in the Trastevere district of Rome, and one of the oldest churches of Rome. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, and much of the structure to 1140-43. The first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and later completed by Pope Julius I. The church has large areas of important mosaics from the late 13th century by Pietro Cavallini.


Soteris was a roman martyr saint, who was put to death for her faith in the early 4th century.

She was supposedly a woman of very great beauty who dressed modestly and gave her virginity to Christ. She was arrested on account of her faith, and underwent torture, before being finally beheaded, perhaps around 304 AD.Ambrose of Milan claimed to descend from her family and wrote about her. Her feast day is on February 11.

Her remains were buried in a cemetery created by Pope Callixtus I in the 3rd century along the Appian way as it approached Rome, which also contained the remains of St Cecilia and many other martyrs.

The Assassini

The Assassini is a 1990 thriller novel by American author Thomas Gifford, published by Bantam Books.

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
13th–16th centuries
Viterbo (1257–1281)
Orvieto (1262–1297)
Perugia (1228–1304)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy
Virgin Mary
See also

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