Callistus I | Free Online Biblical Library

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Callistus I

d. c.222. Bishop of Rome from 217. According to his enemy Hippolytus, Callistus had been a slave, deported to Sardinia for fraud and released by Marcia, concubine of Commodus. Zephyrinus, bishop of Rome (198-217), put him in charge of the Roman clergy and the cemetery now called San Callisto. As bishop, Callistus excommunicated Sabellius and maintained a moderate policy on discipline-no sin was unforgivable; married clergy were acceptable; second baptism was permitted. This charitable policy he defended biblically from Romans 14:4 and the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt. 13:29-30). Further, he allowed women of high rank to live in contubernium with slaves or free men. Roman law forbade marriage between certain social classes. Callistus sought to facilitate partnerships which were unrecognized by state law, but which were confined to one partner. Tertullian as a Montanist* reacted with his De Pudicitia, and Hippolytus withdrew from communion and set up an antipope.