Hippolytus, Saint

Hippolytus, Saint hĭpŏlˈĭtəs [key] [Gr.,=loosed horse], d. c.236, first antipope (c.217–235), theologian, and martyr. Probably a disciple of St. Irenaeus, he became the most astute theologian in the Roman Church of his time—his work was similar in breadth to that of Origen and he taught a Logos doctrine similar to that of Tertullian. Perhaps due to Montanist leanings, he fell into dispute with Popes Zephyrinus and Calixtus I, accusing them of laxness on the question of heresy and of leniency with lapsed Christians; they in turn rejected his doctrine of the Trinity. Hippolytus withdrew from the Roman Church and with a small band of followers set himself up as pope. During the reign of Pope Pontian he composed his Philosophumena—a refutation of prevalent heresies, important today as a source for the period. Under Maximin's persecution he and Pontian were banished to the mines of Sardinia where before his death Hippolytus may have reconciled with the church. The ancient tradition of a St. Hippolytus who was torn apart by wild horses seems to refer to an earlier martyr. Feast: Aug. 13.

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