Ordinary Time: October 14th
A Christian slave of Rome, Callistus was ordained deacon by Pope St. Zephyrinus, whom he succeeded as pope in the year 217. As deacon, he was guardian of the Christian cemetery on the Appian Way, which is still known by his name. While he vigorously opposed heresy, his charitable attitude toward repentant sinners incurred the wrath of contemporary rigorists.
As pope he regulated the discipline of the sacrament of penance, ruling that penitent sinners were welcome in church. He defended the faith against the Adoptionist and Modalist heresies regarding the Holy Trinity and the Person of Jesus Christ. Under the reign of Alexander Severus, he was thrown into prison, and then was tortured by starvation in prison and scourged daily. Finally, Callistus was thrown from a window of the house headlong into a well, where he drowned (in 223).