Saints of the Day – Telesphorus, Pope

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

Died 136. Saint Telesphorus was born in Greece, followed Pope Saint Sixtus I to the papacy, and reigned for ten years. Of the fourteen bishops who succeeded Saint Peter, to the end of the 2nd century, every one is listed as a martyr. In the case of some of them, martyrdom is historically improbable, and for none of them does good historical evidence for the correctness of the tradition still exist, with one exception: Saint Telesphorus. Even for him the circumstances are not known; Saint Ireneaus (c.125-203) simply says that he suffered a glorious martyrdom under the Emperor Hadrian. Saint Telesphorus is commemorated in both the Greek and Latin churches (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney). In art, Saint Telesphorus is shown as a pope with a chalice, over which three Hosts hover, there might also be a club nearby (Roeder).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 December 2020. Web. 14 May 2021. <>