|Pope Saint Pontian|
|Papacy began||21 July 230|
|Papacy ended||28 September 235|
Sardinia, Roman Empire
|Feast day||13 August|
Pope Pontian, also called Pontianus (Italian: Ponziano), was pope from 21 July 230 to 28 September 235. In 235, during the persecution of Christians by Maximinus the Thracian, Pontian was banished to the island of Sardinia. He resigned to make the election of a new pope possible.
A little more is known of Pontian than his predecessors, apparently from a lost papal chronicle that was available to the compiler of the Liberian Catalogue of bishops of Rome, made in the fourth century.
His pontificate was relatively peaceful under the reign of Severus Alexander and most note-worthy for the condemnation of Origen by a Roman synod over which Pontian likely presided. Emperor Maximinus Thrax, however, overturned his predecessor's policy of toleration towards Christianity. Pope Pontian and Hippolytus of Rome were both arrested and exiled to labour in the mines of Sardinia. As a consequence of his sentence, Pope Pontian abdicated on 28 September 235 AD to prevent a power vacuum. This brought a schism of the Roman Church to an end. Neither Hippolytus nor Pontian survived; Pontian died in October 235.
Pope Fabian brought the bodies of both Pontian and Hippolytus of Rome back to Rome in 236AD or 237AD and buried them in the papal crypt in the Catacomb of Callixtus on the Appian Way. His tomb slab was rediscovered in 1909. It is written in Greek: "PONTIANOS, EPISK". The inscription "MARTUR" had been added in another hand.
His feast day was 19 November, but he is now celebrated jointly with Hippolytus on 13 August.
- Kirsch, Johann Peter (1911). "Pope St. Pontian" in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- G. W. Clarke, "Some Victims of the Persecution of Maximinus Thrax," Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Bd. 15, H. 4 (Nov., 1966): pp. 445-453, p. 451.
- Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2000), 45.
- McBrien, Lives of the Popes, 45.
- Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 146
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|Catholic Church titles|
|Bishop of Rome