Book of Saints – Telesphorus

detail of a bas-relief medallion portrait of Pope Saint Telesphorus, date and artist unknown; Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome, ItalyArticle

(Saint) Pope, Martyr (January 5) (2nd century) A Greek by birth, he succeeded Saint Xystus I in Saint Peter’s Chair (A.D. 142), and twelve years later received the crown of martyrdom. Some authorities, however, date his Pontificate from A.D. 126 to A.D. 142. He did much for Church discipline and was altogether an able Pope and truly a “man of God.” It was he, it is said, who made the observance of Lent obligatory on Christians. He is also credited with having introduced the chanting of the Hymn Gloria in excelsis into the Mass, and with having been the first to celebrate the Three Masses of Christmas Day. From this tradition he has come to be represented in art as holding in his hand a chalice with three hosts.

MLA Citation

  • Monks of Ramsgate. “Telesphorus”. Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 December 2016. Web. 30 March 2017. <>