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Gaius

(283—296)


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Calixtus (d. c. 222)

 

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(17 Dec. 283–22 Apr. 296)

Although he was described by LP as Dalmatian in origin, a relative of Emperor Diocletian (284–305), these particulars are suspect; they derive from the 6th-century Passion of St Susanna, whose uncle he was supposed to be and with whom he became linked through the fact that her cult was localized at the titulus, or title church, of Gaius at Rome. He also figures in the Passion of St Sebastian, which represents him as encouraging the soldier saint and his companions to face their impending martyrdom. LP's further reports about him should also be dismissed as anachronistic, especially its statement that he took refuge in the catacombs during Diocletian's persecution and (in its 2nd edition) died a martyr. While his dates can be determined with a reasonable degree of accuracy, nothing is known about him or his activities; all that is clear is that his reign fell in a period of peace and consolidation for the Roman church. The Roman calendar of 354 did not include him in its list of martyrs. He was buried in the cemetery of Callistus in a sector separate from the old papal crypt, which was probably full; fragments of his epitaph, in Greek letters with his initial distinctly given as a gamma, were found there in the 19th century. Feast 22 Apr.

Further Reading

Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 7. 32. 1LP i, pp. xcviii–xcix, 6 f., 71 f., 161 (Davis 1: 12, 100, 108)Caspar i. 43 f., 50 f., 50 f., 84, 97DCB i. 386 f. (E. B. Birks)DACL ii. 1736 (H. Leclercq)DHGE xi. 237 f. (G. Bardy)EThC 38 (G. Schwaiger)BSS iii. 646–9 (A. Amore)NCE vi. 49–50 (E. G. Weltin)C. H. Turner, ‘The Papal Chronology of the Third Century’, JTS17 (1916), 350 f.

Subjects: Christianity.


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