Pope Telesphorus
Installedca. 126
Term endedca. 137
PredecessorSixtus I
Personal details

Diedca. 137
Papal styles of
Pope Telesphorus
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleSaint

Pope Saint Telesphorus was pope from about 126 to about 137.

His pontificate began during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, during which he witnessed the persecution of Christians, and ended during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius. The Vatican's Annuario Pontificio says that he was Greek by birth, and reigned from 127 or 128 to 137 or 138. The tradition of Christmas midnight masses, the celebration of Easter on Sundays, the keeping of a seven-week Lent before Easter and the singing of the Gloria are usually attributed to his pontificate, but many historians doubt that such attributions are accurate.

The writer Irenaeus says that Telesphorus suffered martyrdom;[1]. Although each of the first fourteen successors of St. Peter are described by one source or another as being martyrs, Telesphorus is the only one for whom historical evidence of his martyrdom exists. According to one source, "He is the only 2nd century pope whose martyrdom is reliably attested." In the Roman Martyrology his feast is given under January 5; the Greek Church celebrates it on February 22. The Carmelites venerate Telesphorus as patron saint of the order since he is claimed to have lived on Mount Carmel as a hermit.

The town of Saint-Télesphore, in the southwestern part of Canada's Quebec province, is named after him.



  1. ^ * "Pope St. Telesphorus" in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.

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