Pothinus, St

Pothinus, St.

a prelate of the Church in the 2nd century, who died a martyr, was probably born at Smyrna in A.D. 87. He was a disciple neither of Peter nor of John, as some writers have asserted, but of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna. He went to Rome with the latter while Anicetus was bishop of Rome, in 158, and was sent by that pontiff to evangelize the Gauls. Pothillus established himself at Lyons, and founded there a flourishing Church. He had presided over it twenty years when, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the persecutions against the Christians broke out with renewed violence. His hoary age did not protect the bishop from persecution. He was brought before the governor, and was asked who was the God of the Christians. "If you are worthy," said the old bishop, "you will know him." He was severely beaten, and dragged, half dead, to a dismal dungeon, where he expired two days afterwards, June 2, 177. At the same time with the apostle of Lyons, forty-seven faithful sealed their faith with their blood. These were the first martyrs of the Gauls: their remains were buried beneath the altar of a church built under the invocation of the holy apostles, now consecrated to St. Nizier. The Church celebrates on June 2 the memory of the martyrs of Lyons. Their history was written in Greek, in the name of the faithful of the churches of Lyons, and attributed to Irenaeus, successor of Pothinus. It is one of the most precious monuments of the first centuries of Christianity. We owe its preservation to Eusebius, who inserted it partly in his Hist. Eccles. (lib. 5, cap. 1). — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, s.v. See Longueval, Hist. de l'Eglise Gallicane. liv. 1; Gallia Christiana, vol. 5; Colonia, Antiquites die Lyon, p. 38; Du Trems, Le Clerge de France, vol. 4; Schaff, Hist. of the Christian Church, 1, 167; Mosheim, Commentaries, and Eccles. Hist. vol. 1; Alzog, Kirchengesch. 1. 129, 138.

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