Dates of birth and death unknown. The "Liber Pontificalis" (ed. Duchesne, I, 145) gives Rome as his native city and calls his father Calpurnius. With him begins the brief chronicle of the Roman bishops of the third century, of which the author of the Liberian Catalogue of the popes made use in the fourth century and which gives more exact data for the lives of the popes. According to this account Pontian was made pope 21 July, 230, and reigned until 235. The schism of Hippolytus continued during his episcopate; towards the end of his pontificate there was a reconciliation between the schismatic party and its leader with the Roman bishop. After the condemnation of Origen at Alexandria (231-2), a synod was held at Rome, according to Jerome (Epist. XXXII, iv) and Rufinus (Apol. contra Hieron., II, xx), which concurred in the decisions of the Alexandrian synod against Origen; without doubt this synod was held by Pontian (Hefele, Konziliengeschichte, 2nd ed., I, 106 sq.). In 235 in the reign of Maximinus the Thracian began a persecution directed chiefly against the heads of the Church. One of its first victims was Pontian, who with Hippolytus was banished to the unhealthy island of Sardinia. To make the election of a new pope possible, Pontian resigned 28 Sept., 235, the Liberian Catalogue says "discinctus est". Consequently Anteros was elected in his stead. Shortly before this or soon afterwards Hippolytus, who had been banished with Pontian, became reconciled to the Roman Church, and with this the schism he had caused came to an end. How much longer Pontian endured the sufferings of exile and harsh treatment in the Sardinian mines is unknown. According to old and no longer existing Acts of martyrs, used by the author of the "Liber Pontificalis", he died in consequence of the privations and inhuman treatment he had to bear. Pope Fabian (236-50) had the remains of Pontian and Hippolytus brought to Rome at a later date and Pontian was buried on 13 August in the papal crypt of the Catacomb of Callistus. In 1909 the original epitaph was found in the crypt of St. Cecilia, near the papal crypt. The epitaph, agreeing with the other known epitaphs of the papal crypt, reads: PONTIANOS, EPISK. MARTUR (Pontianus, Bishop, Martyr). The word mártur was added later and is written in ligature [cf. Wilpert, "Die Papstgräber und die Cäciliengruft in der Katakombe des hl. Kalixtus" (Freiburg, 1909), 1 sq., 17 sq., Plate III]. He is placed under 13 Aug. in the list of the "Depositiones martyrum" in the chronographia of 354. TheRoman Martyrology gives his feast on 19 Nov.
Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 412
Reading 1DT 6:4-13
Moses said to the people: "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.
"When the LORD, your God, brings you into the land which he swore to your fathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that he would give you, a land with fine, large cities that you did not build, with houses full of goods of all sorts that you did not garner, with cisterns that you did not dig, with vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant; and when, therefore, you eat your fill, take care not to forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. The LORD, your God, shall you fear; him shall you serve, and by his name shall you swear."
Responsorial PsalmPS 18:2-3A, 3BC-4, 47 AND 51
R. (2) I love you, Lord, my strength. I love you, O LORD, my strength, O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. R. I love you, Lord, my strength. My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold! Praised be the LORD, I exclaim! And I am safe from my enemies. R. I love you, Lord, my strength. The LORD live! And blessed be my Rock! Extolled be God my savior! You who gave great victories to your king, and showed kindness to your anointed, to David and his posterity forever. R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
AlleluiaSEE 2 TM 1:10
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A man came up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and said, "Lord, have pity on my son, who is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him." Jesus said in reply, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring the boy here to me." Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured. Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."