conference

Was Calixtus Deacon or Presbyter Prior to Becoming the Bishop of Rome? Some Methodological Remarks

And once again Bishop Calixtus I. of Rome (217?-222?). This time, it is about the question, whether he was a presbyter (priest) or a deacon prior to his election to bishop. The problem is particularly intriguing, because Calixtus was also an authentic confessor and thus his possible installation into the office of a presbyter could be understood for instance as a “honoris causa” promotion. The presentation was hold at the “Clerics in Church and Society up to 700” Conference, in the session “Different Grades, Different Duties”, 26 April 2019, at the Tyszkiewicz Palace, University of Warsaw.

The abstract:
The claim is well known, virtually omnipresent and often stated confidently: Calixtus, prior to becoming the bishop of Rome himself, he served his predecessor Zephyrinus (199?-217?) of Rome as a(n) (arch)deacon. This conclusion is based mainly on the task he carried out as the head of the “κοιμητήριον”, the earliest collective community graveyard at Rome today known as the Catacombs of Calixtus. But can we really be that confident, if the sources do not provide a terminus technicus? And, which indicators can be used in a methodologically sound manner to determine his office? This presentation, by offering a meticulous analysis of the available sources, aims to re-evaluate the matter and reflect the methodological issues raised during the re-evaluation.