Martyr Hippolytus of Rome

The Martyr Hippolytus was a chief prison guard at Rome under the emperors Decius (249-251) and Valerian (253-259). He was converted to Christ by the Martyr Laurence (August 10), and he buried the martyr’s body.

They informed the emperor of this, and Saint Hippolytus was arrested. Valerian asked: “Are you then a sorcerer, to have stolen away the body of Laurence?” The saint confessed himself a Christian, and they beat him fiercely with rods. His only response was, “I am a Christian.”

The emperor gave orders to clothe Saint Hippolytus in his soldier’s garb, saying, “Be mindful of your calling and be our friend. Offer sacrifice to the gods together with us, just as before.” But the martyr answered, “I am a soldier of Christ, my Savior, and I desire to die for Him.”

They then confiscated all his property, and whipped his foster mother, the Martyr Concordia, with olive switches, and they beheaded all his household before his very eyes. The saint himself was tied to wild horses, which dragged him over the stones to his death. This occurred on August 13, 258, the third day after the martyr’s death of Archdeacon Laurence, just as he had foretold to Saint Hippolytus.

By night the priest Justin buried all the martyrs at the place of execution. However, the body of Saint Concordia had been thrown into an unclean place at Rome. After a while two Christians, the Martyrs Irenaeus and Abundius, learned from a soldier where the body of the martyr had been thrown, and they buried her beside Saint Hippolytus. For this reason, they were drowned on August 26, just as the martyr had been. Christians took up the bodies of the martyrs by night and buried them near the relics of the holy Archdeacon Laurence.