Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Pope Saint Callistus I (d. 223)

Pope Saint Callistus I (d. 223)

Feast day: October 14

As a young slave, Pope Saint Callistus I was given the task of maintaining the collected funds that were given as alms by Christians. Callistus lost the funds he was supposed to be minding and ran away from Rome. He was condemned to work in the mines of Sardinia. After he was freed from the mines, Callistus became a deacon, and Pope Zephyrinus entrusted the burial chambers, called catacombs, along the Appian Way near Rome to his care.

When Callistus followed Zephyrinus as bishop of Rome, he started allowing converts from sects or schisms into the Church even though they had not done penance. This angered his biggest rival and a priest of Rome, Hippolytus. (He later became a saint and his life is profiled in these pages.)

Callistus was martyred around 222, possibly during a popular uprising. The Catacombs of Saint Callistus (or Callixtus) can still be visited in Rome. While the remains of the saints buried there have been moved to various churches in Rome over the centuries, the catacombs still contain artwork from early Christian times.

(Image Hugo DK, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)