18. St. Pontian 230-235

Pontian

Pope Pontian made great strides in reconciling with the Anti-Pope Hippolytus and healing the first great schism of the Church,unfortunately(there’s always a “unfortunately” with early Christianity. Unfortunately.),a new Emperor named Maximinus Thrax(even his name is scary)came to power in the year 235 and his hatred of all things Christian led to the arrest of every Church leader the empire could get their hands on. Pontian and Hippolytus were captured and sentenced to slave labor in the mines of the island Sardinia. Before he was exiled though,Pontian resigned as Bishop of Rome so the Church wouldn’t be left in a lurch(poet didn’t know it). He was the first Pope to step down voluntarily. Life in the mines of Sardinia was a guaranteed death sentence,especially to the older Pontian,and soon after his body was brought back to Rome to be laid to rest in the Papal crypts of the Catacombs of Callixtus. The lid to his crypt was discovered in 1909 and on it was inscribed “Pontianos,Episk. Martur”,which translates to “Pontian,Bishop. Martyr.”

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