Monday, February 4, 2013

Catholic Popes: Pope Telesphoros (Our 8th Pope)

by M. J. Joachim
Of Greek origin, the name Telesphoros refers to the mythological god of convalescence and healing; many resources indicate Pope Telesphoros was a native of Greece. His reign is estimated to have taken place from 125 – 136, primarily under Roman Emperor, Hadrian. Hadrian was regarded as one of the “Good Roman Emperors” of the times, deemed as a kind ruler, who cared greatly for his kingdom and subjects.

By all accounts, Pope Telesphoros maintained a strong devotion to the Resurrection of our Lord. He is one of the popes associated with Easter Sunday, that is to say, it was his preference to always celebrate Easter on Sunday; some other popes in history also preferred to do this. The records remain vague about whether or not Pope Telesphoros is to be credited with the Lenten 40-day preparation prior to Easter. Some say he contributed greatly to this. Others indicate pagan cultures of the times overlapped, and early Christians melded the two together.

While all the early popes were considered martyrs for the faith, “Telesphoros is the only second-century pope whose martyrdom is historically verifiable.” (Lives of the Popes, McBrien) According to the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Irenaeus indicated it was a glorious martyrdom, undoubtedly meaning Pope Telesphoros gladly suffered and died for the love of Christ. He is honored with two separate feast days:  January 5th in the Roman Catholic Church and February 22 in the Greek Orthodox Church.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

Until next time, I wish you every good thing.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Telesphoros, PD – US
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