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The hieromartyr Pontian of Rome, also Pontianus, was the ruling bishop of the Church of Rome from 230 to 235. Condemned to the mines of Sardinia, he was the first bishop of Rome to abdicate. His feast day is August 13.


Little is known of his early life. Pontian was a Roman, the son of Calpurnius. He was elected bishop of Rome on July 21, 230, succeeding Bishop Urban I, during the reign of emperor Alexander Severus, who had favored Christians, and the schism of Hippolytus. During Pontian's episcopate Hippolytus and his party reconciled with the church in Rome, ending the schism.

In 235, emperor Alexander was assassinated and was succeeded by Maximinus Thrax, who hated Alexander and the Christians. Maximinus quickly began a campaign against the Christians, ordering a persecution mainly against the leaders of the church. As a consequence, Bp. Pontian and the Roman leaders, including Hippolytus, were exiled by the emperor to Sardinia to work in the mines of the island. To make possible an election of a new bishop for the Church of Rome, Bp. Pontian resigned on September 28, 235 and was succeeded by Bp. Anterus.

How long Pontian endured in exile the hardships and suffering of the harsh treatment in the Sardinian mines is unknown. He and the exiled Hippolytus died as a consequence of the privations and inhuman treatment in the mines. During the episcopate of Bp. Fabian his remains were returned to Rome where he was buried in the Catacomb of Callistus. His feast day of August 13 is celebrated jointly with Hippolytus.

Succession box:
Pontian of Rome
Preceded by:
Urban I
Bishop of Rome
Succeeded by:
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