16. St. Callixtus I 217-222


Oh this guy…..this guy got off to a rough start. A young slave belonging to a Christian named Carpophorus,young Callixtus was given the job of looking over the offerings and funds collected for Christian widows and orphans,which Callixtus then freely spent on God knows what for himself. Arrested and sentenced to the dreaded treadmill,Callixtus was later freed so he could repay his stolen debts. Showing that he learned nothing from prison,he promptly started a brawl in a Jewish synagogue(oy!),and was then shipped off to hard labor in the mines of Sardinia. Pardoned by Emperor Commodus,a humbled and now converted Christian Callixtus fell in with future Pope Zephyrinus and began his rise through the Church. Put in charge of the first Christian cemeteries(and the first land owned by Christians),Callixtus organized and created what is now called “The Catacombs of Callixtus”,and at its peak it would hold sixteen Popes and over fifty Christian martyrs.
The main brains behind the Papacy of Zephyrinus,Callixtus was easily elected to the position and this did not sit well with priest Hippolytus,who hated Zephyrinus(he thought he was a doofus),and he really hated Callixtus(he thought he was a brown noser). Hippolytus also had a problem with differences of doctrine with the new Pope. Callixtus,himself a reformed sinner,welcomed and forgave herectics and sinners of all kinds. Hippolytus was so digusted by all of this that he set himself up as a rival Bishop of Rome,becoming the first Anti-Pope in the process and creating the first known schism of the Church.
These bitter disputes and rival Popes would not last long. Roman Emperor Elagabalus was murdered and riots broke out all throughout the city. Poor Callixtus was caught in the middle of an angry mob and was apparently stuffed down a well. An indignant end to a potentially great Pope. Ironically he isn’t even buried in the cemetery he created.


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