Martyr Pontius

The Martyr Pontius lived during the third century, the son of the pagan Roman senator Marcus and his wife Julia. While with child, Julia had gone with her husband to the temple of Jupiter. The devil, inhabiting the temple, shouted through the lips of the pagan priest that the boy in Julia’s womb would destroy Jupiter and his pagan temple. When the boy was born, his mother wanted to kill him out of fear of the prediction, but his father opposed this and the child was left to live. He was named Pontius, and he grew up sharp of mind and eager for study.

On his way to the pagan school Pontius happened to go past a house, where Christians were attending the morning services. Hearing the words of the Psalm which the Christians were singing: “the idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the works of men’s hands” (Ps. 114/115: 4 and Ps. 134 /135: 15 ). Pontius became very interested in this verse and he paused at the gate.

St Pontian, who was celebrating the service, invited Pontius and his companion Valerian to come in. After the service, the bishop talked for a long while with the youths, revealing to them the Gospel teachings, and after a certain while he baptized them. St Pontius, in turn, converted his father to Christ, whom St Pontian also baptized, together with his whole household.

After the death of his father, St Pontius, then 20 years old, was appointed by the emperor Alexander Severus (222-235) as a senator, to take the place of his deceased father. In the Senate and the surroundings of the emperor, St Pontius enjoyed universal esteem for his good nature, sound sense and fairness. Under the successor to the emperor Alexander Severus, Maximian (235-238), St Pontian finished his life as a martyr.