Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Pontianus, Bishop of Rome

Pontianus (3) , bp. of Rome from July (?) 21, 230, to Sept. 28, 235. These dates, given in the Liberian Catalogue, are probably correct, though later recessions of the Pontifical give them differently. The same record states that he was, with Hippolytus a presbyter, banished to Sardinia, which it describes as "nociva insula," implying possibly that he was sent to the mines there. His banishment doubtless took place under Maximinus, who succeeded Alexander after the assassination of the latter in May 235. The date, Sept. 28, 235 was probably that of his deprivation only.

His only episcopal act of which anything needs to be said is his probable assent to the condemnation of Origen by Demetrius of Alexandria. Jerome (Ep. ad Paulam , xxix. in Benedict. ed.; Ep. xxxiii. in ed. Veron.) says of Origen: "For this toil what reward did he get? He is condemned by the bp. Demetrius. Except the priests of Palestine Arabia, Phoenicia, and Achaia, the world consents to his condemnation. Rome herself assembles a senate [meaning apparently a synod] against him." The condemnation of Origen by Demetrius being supposed (though not with certainty) to have been c. 231, the Roman bishop who assembled the synod was most probably Pontianus. Two spurious epistles are assigned to him.

[J.B—Y.]

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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Pontianus, Bishop of Rome'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hwd/p/pontianus-bishop-of-rome.html. 1911.

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