Feast Day: October 14
Born:(around) 165 :: Died:222
This great pope and martyr was once a young slave in Rome, who got into serious trouble. His master, a Christian, had put him in charge of a bank. Because other Christians, who took loans from the bank, refused to pay back the money, the bank went broke.
Callistus knew that he would be blamed even though he was not at fault and in fear, he ran away from Rome. He was caught, after jumping into the sea to try to get away. His sentence was a terrible one: he was chained and put to hard labor in a mill.
From this punishment Callistus was released, only because the people the bank owed money to, hoped he could get some of their money back. But once again he was arrested, this time for having gotten into a fight and was sent to the mines of Sardinia.
Fortunately, when the emperor freed all the Christians who had been punished and sent to those mines, Callistus was freed too. From that time on, things became better for him.
Pope St. Zephrinus got to know and trust St. Callistus. He put him in charge of the public Christian cemetery in Rome. This cemetery even today is called the Cemetery of St. Callistus.
Many popes were buried in it. Callistus proved himself worthy of the pope's confidence in him. St. Zephrinus not only ordained him a priest, but also made him his friend and advisor.
Later on, St. Callistus himself became pope. Some people complained because he showed too much mercy to sinners. However, the holy pope ruled that even murderers could be given communion after they had done penance for their sins.
He also declared that the rich could marry the poor. This made the Romans very angry because it was against their law. But Pope Callistus would not give in; he said that the Church law was always greater than the Roman law.
This great pope always defended the true teachings of Jesus. He was killed for his faith in 222 with a glorious martyrdom.
The life of St. Callistus reminds us that God can choose anyone to do his work. We only need to have faith and trust in Him.
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