St Eutychian


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Calixtus (d. c. 222)


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(4 Jan. 275–7 Dec. 283)

He was, according to LP, a native of Tuscany, son of Marinus. While his dates can be fixed within a year, no reliable information about his activities or personality survives; the remainder of LP's account is either anachronistic conjecture, e.g. that he decreed that only beans and grapes should be blessed at mass (a usage attested in the much later Gelasian and Gregorian Sacramentaries), or pure fantasy, e.g. that he personally buried 342 martyrs. It is worth noting that his pontificate fell wholly within the period of peace between the persecutions of Emperors Valerian (253–60) and Diocletian (284–305), when the Roman church was able to develop and consolidate its position (as is evidenced by the extensions of the official cemeteries undertaken then). Such records of his reign as existed may have perished in the devastation caused by Diocletian's persecution. LP's assertion (only in its 2nd edition) that he died a martyr should be rejected. The Roman calendar of 354 included him in its list of episcopal burials, not in that of martyrs. He was the last pope to be interred in the papal crypt in the cemetery of Callistus, where fragments of his epitaph, in ill-formed Greek letters, have been found. Feast 8 Dec.

Further Reading

Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 7. 32. 1LP i, pp. cxxxi–clix, 6 f., 10, 159 f. (Davis 1: 11–12, 100, 108)Caspa i. 43, 84DCB ii. 412 (J. Barmby)DHGE xvi. 91 f. (H. Marot)EThC 34 (G. Schwaiger)C. H. Turner, ‘The Papal Chronology of the Third Century’, JTS17 (1916), 350P. Styger, Die römischen Katakomben (Berlin, 1933), 49

Subjects: Christianity.

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