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Hippolytus, St

Hippolytus, St (c.170–c.236). Church father. He was an important priest in the Roman Church and an enemy of Sabellianism. However, he criticized the lax policy of Pope Callistus (217–22) in readmitting penitents to communion, and seems to have been elected by a party of right-wing dissidents as rival bishop of Rome. Probably he was reconciled to the pope's party before his death.

Hippolytus's principal work is his Refutation of all Heresies (largely discovered only in the 19th cent.), whose object was to show that all heresies derived from pagan philosophy. Historically more important is his treatise The Apostolic Tradition; this was composed c.215, and contains detailed descriptions of the rites of ordination, baptism, and the eucharist as practised at the time in Rome. Feast day, 13 Aug. (W.), 30 Jan. (E.).

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