Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1838
Calepodius, presbyter in Rome during the pontificate of Callixtus is martyred in the persecutions of the emperor Alexander; AD 222. Account of the Martyrdom of Callixtus, written probably in Rome before the 8th c.
For the first part of the story about Callixtus and Calepodius see [1837].
New converts come to the community led by Callixtus and Calepodius, among them the Senator Simplicius and his household. Calepodius rejoices after their baptism:
5. [...] B. Calepodius presbyter gaudio repletus, coepit clamare in domo Simplicii, dicens: Gloria tibi Domine Jesu Christe, qui de tenebris dignaris ad lucem perducere facturam tuam, et de errore liberare. Hoc audiens Alexander, quia multitudo hominum baptismum percepisset per B. Calixtum episcopum, misit exercitum militum, ac tenuit omnes qui baptismum perceperant, quos praecepit capitis subire sententiam, et per diversas portas urbis Romae capita eorum suspendi, ad exemplum Christianorum.
6. Tenuit autem et B. Calepodium, quem fecit occidi gladio, et corpus trahi per civitatem sub die Kalendorum Maji: cujus corpus jactari fecit in Tiberim ante insulam Lycaoniam. In ipsis diebus fugit B. Calixtus cum decem clericis suis, et abscondit se in domum cujusdam Pontiani noctu, rogans piscatores quaerere corpus B. Calepodii presbyteri. Quod inventum levantes de flumine, renuntiaverunt B. Calixto episcopo. Tunc gaudio repletus est. Quod corpus sanctum acceptum condivit cum aromatibus et linteaminibus, et cum hymnis, et sepelivit eum in coemeterio ejusdem, sexto Idus Maji.
7. Ab eodem die coepit Alexander curiose quaerere B. Calixtum episcopum. Et divulgatum est ei, quod esset in domo Pontiani juxta urbem Ravennatium: misitque occulte trans Tiberim et tenuit eum: praecipiens ut in eodem loco fame cruciaretur. Qui tamen cum quarto die nihil victus accepisset, jejuniis et orationibus magis corroboratur. Hoc audiens Alexander, jussit eum fustibus caedi omnibus diebus, et in eodem loco custodiae mancipari, ut si quis ad eum noctu veniret, occideretur. Cumque multis diebus in custodia esset maceratus, venit ad eum B. Calepodius noctu per visionem, consolatus est eum dicens: Firmus esto, Pater: quia corona tua jam perfecta est: ut accipias a Deo condignam laboris tui mercedem. Beatus autem Calixtus insistens orationi, non cessabat Dominum deprecari.
(Acta Sanctorum Octobris V, 441)
For the first part of the story about Callixtus and Calepodius see [1837].
New converts come to the community led by Callixtus and Calepodius, among them the Senator Simplicius and his household. Calepodius rejoices after their baptism:
5. [...] The blessed Calepodius, presbyter, filled with joy, started to shout in the house of Simplicius: "Glory to you, o Lord, Jesus Christ who wanted to bring your creatures from darkness to light and free them from error." When Alexander heard that many people received baptism from the blessed Bishop Callixtus, he sent troops and arrested all those baptized. He sentenced them to death and ordered that their heads be hung on various gates of the city of Rome as a warning for the Christians.
6. He also arrested the blessed Calepodius whom he beheaded by the sword and his body dragged throught the city on the day of the Kalends of May [=1 May]. He ordered his body to be thrown to the Tiber above the island Lycaonia [=the Tiber Island]. In those days the blessed Callixtus escaped with his clerics and hid at night in the house of a certain Pontianus. He asked some fishermen to look for the body of the blessed Presbyter Calepodius. They found it in the river and reported it to the blessed Bishop Callixtus. He was then filled with joy. He embalmed the body in spices and lintens and buried it with hymns in his cemetery on the sixth day before the Ides of May [=10 May].
7. From this day, Alexander started to look for the blessed Bishop Callixtus. And he was informed that Callixtus is in the house of Pontianus near the city of the Ravennians. He secretly sent [troops] beyond the Tiber and arrested him with an order that he be starved at the very same place. Although he did not eat anything for four days, he was only strengthened by fasting and prayer. When Alexander heard that, he ordered that he be beaten with clubs every day, and ordered the guards guarding his place to kill every person found to visit Callixtus at night. After many days of torture in his prison, the blessed Calepodius came to him at night in a vision and comforted him in these words: "Be strong, o father, because your crown is ready and you will receive from God a deserved reward for your toil. The blessed Callixtus continued to pray and did not stop to appeal to the Lord.
(trans. and summary M. Szada)

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Rome

About the source:

Title: Martyrdom of Callixtus, Passio Callixti, Passio Callisti, Acta Callixti, Acta Callixti
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The Martyrdom of Callixtus is an anonymous account most probably composed in Rome in the milieu interested in the cult of Callixtus and his companions, the Presbyters Calepodius and Asterius, in Trastevere (which is attested already in the 4th c.). The date of the text is uncertain but it is surely earlier than the 8th c. because it was used by Bede in his Martyrology. Some scholars attempt to prove that the Martyrdom is earlier than the biography of Callixtus in the Liber Pontificalis, thus claiming that it is earlier than the 6th c. The arguments, however, are not compelling. For a detailed discussion and the further bibliography see Pignot 2017.
Mombritius, B., Sanctuarium seu vitae sanctorum, 2 volumes with additions and corrections by D. A. Brunet and D. H. Quentin (Paris, 1910), I, 268-271. The original edition was published in  ca. 1480.
Acta Sanctorum, Oct., VI, 439-441
Matthieu Pignot, Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity, E02485, 2017


Burial/Funerary inscription
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Fame of sanctity
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Monarch and royal/imperial family
Relation with - Secular authority
Relation with - Noble
Administration of justice - Secular
Administration of justice - Capital punishment
Conflict - Violence
Devotion - Supernatural experience
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1838,