St. Hippolytus of Rome

Hippolytus is regarded as one of the most prolific writers of the early church. Hippolytus was born in the late second century and had a profound effect on numerous areas of study including homiletics, apologetics, and ecclesiastical law. In the early third century, Hippolytus was a presbyter, or elder, of the Church of Rome. Much of Hippolytus’ life remains a mystery but it is theorized that he was schismatic bishop of Rome (although his name remains unrecorded on the list of Roman bishops). But perhaps the most famous and significant of Hippolytus’s contributions to Christinaity is his work “Philosophumena” which was previously attributed to early Christian scholar Origen. Hippolytus described the heresies of his day and believed the Church was too forgiving of those who had committed gross offenses. He became the first antipope for about 10 years as he vehemently disagreed with numerous Church officials and was the head of his own congregation. Hippolytus was ultimately exiled to Sardinia and died a martyr there. Today, his writings remain contain the greatest insight into the Roman liturgy and the structure of the Church in the second and third centuries. His feast day is August 13. 

Questions for Reflection:

  • Along with his many contributions to the Church, Hippolytus was quite the rigorist. How do you confront rigorism in your life?
  • At times, Hippolytus struggled with forgiveness. Reflect on the last time you received reconciliation.