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Sts. Hippolytus

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Besides the presbyter, St. Hippolytus of Rome, others of the name are mentioned in the old martyrologies and legends of martyrs as having shed their blood for the Faith. Some of these, however, are to be identified with him. In the Acts of St. Laurence we find an officer Hippolytus who, with his nurse Concordia and nineteen others of his household, was put to death for the Faith. The same statement also appears in the Roman Martyrology under the date of 13 August. But this Hippolytus is without doubt identical with the presbyter and martyr who has been connected by legend with St. Laurence, whose grave is situated near the cemetery of Hippolytus.

Hippolytus was also commemorated at a later date in common with St. Cassian, with whom he had no connection whatsoever. According to the hymn of Prudentius on Cassian (Peristephanon, hymn IX), the latter was a teacher at Imola (Forum Cornelii) and was surrendered to the fury of his pupils, who tortured him to death with their iron styles. He is without doubt an historical martyr, who probably suffered in the persecution of Diocletian.

Another Hippolytus is likewise found among a group of martyrs described as "Greek martyrs" (martyres groeci), whose burial place was venerated in the catacomb of Callistus. This Hippolytus is certainly distinct from the Roman presbyter ( De Rossi , "Roma sotterranea", III, 201-208). The feast of these saints is celebrated on 2 December.

Furthermore the bishop and martyr Hippolytus of Porto is commemorated on 22 August in the Roman Martyrology. This statement, which occurs even in ancient martyrologies, is connected with the confusion regarding the Roman presbyter, resulting from the Acts of the Martyrs of Porto. It has not been ascertained whether the memory of the latter was localized at Porto merely in connection with the legend in Prudentius, without further foundation, or whether a person named Hippolytus was really martyred at Porto, and afterwards confounded in legend with Hippolytus of Rome .


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