Pope Saint Telesphorus

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

  • Telesforo



Greek, probably from Calabria. Pope. Celebrated Easter on Sunday but maintained fellowship with communities that did not. Started the tradition of Christmas Midnight Mass, and decided that the Gloria should be sung. Some legends say he was a hermit before his election, and that he instituted the tradition of Lent, but these are doubtful. Martyred, possibly due to conversions caused by his preaching.

Papal Ascension




  • pope with a chalice over which three Hosts hover (may refer to the celebration of Christmas with three Masses said to represent the temporal, spiritual, and eternal birth of Christ)
  • pope with a chalice with a nearby club (possibly an indication of his martyrdom)
Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Pope Saint Telesphorus“. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 December 2020. Web. 19 April 2021. <>