Catholic Saints

Saint Hippolytus

  • Short, concise biography of Saint Hippolytus
  • History, Life, Biography, Facts and Information about Saint Hippolytus
  • Fast, concise facts and information about Saint Hippolytus
  • What is Saint Hippolytus the patron of?
  • Date of Death
  • How Saint Hippolytus is represented in Christian Art
  • Feast Day

The Patron Saint Hippolytus

What is the definition and the meaning of the Patron Saints and why were these people chosen to become patrons of causes, professions and countries?

The term 'Patron' is used in Christian religions, including the Roman Catholic religion, to describe holy and virtuous men and women who are considered to be a defender of a specific group of people or of a country.

There is a patron for virtually every cause, country, profession or special interest. There are two categories of saints: martyrs and confessors. A martyr is one who is put to death for his Christian faith or convictions.

Fast, concise facts and information about Saint Hippolytus
The following provides fast and concise facts and information:

  • The patron of Horses and Prisons
  • Memorial Day / Feast Day: August 13th
  • Date of Death:  After 258
  • Cause of Death: Dragged to death by wild horses

Who was Saint Hippolytus?
There is considerable confusion regarding Saint Hippolytus who was inadvertently listed as two people by religious chronicles - Hippolytus of Rome and Hippolytus of Porto. Many references give the date of Saint Hippolytus death in A.D. 252 but this is incorrect where the Hippolytus referred to is associated with Saint Lawrence. Saint Lawrence died in 258 and therefore this Hippolytus must have died some time after this date. The second Saint Hippolytus was the presbyter who was exiled to the island of Sardinia where he gained the title of martyr by dying in the mines on 13 August AD 235. It is also possible that the Greek myth of Hippolytus, the son of Theseus, was transferred from Greek legend to this Christian martyr. The history and story of Saint Hippolytus is therefore vague but the version detailed below does tie in with the dates stated.

Who or what is Saint Hippolytus the patron saint of?
Saint Hippolytus is the patron of Horses and Prisons. Meanings, definition and origins - a patron is considered to be a defender of a specific group of people or of a nation. There is a patron for virtually every cause, profession or special interest. Prayers are considered more likely to be answered by asking a patron for intercession on their behalf.

The Story and History of Saint Hippolytus
The story and history of Saint Hippolytus. Hippolytus was born in Rome in the 2nd century. Hippolytus was a military leader and the overseer of the prisons in Rome. The Roman Emperor Valerian (c.200 - 260) who reigned from from 253 to 260 became wary of the growing power of the Christians and mounted a persecution against them. Those arrested had no trial and were sentenced to death and then thrown into pits without proper burials. Hippolytus was converted to Christianity by Saint Lawrence who was imprisoned in 258 and placed under his jurisdiction. Whilst in prison Hippolytus witnessed Saint Lawrence healing the sick. When Saint Lawrence was martyred Hippolytus ensured that he was given a Christian burial. Hippolytus became interested in the writings of Saint Irenaeus, whose writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. Saint Hippolytus became famous as one of the most prolific writers of the early Christian Church. Various conflicts with the popes of the time led to Hippolytus being referred to as the first Anti-pope. The issues were eventually resolved and he became a prelate, a high ranking member of the clergy with authority over other clergy.  Hippolytus probably died under the rule of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (r.284-305). Emperor Diocletian mounted some of the fiercest persecutions of the early Church especially in the East of the Empire.  and he was martyred by being bound by the feet to the tails of two wild horses and dragged to his death.

Death of Saint Hippolytus
There are two categories of saints: martyrs and confessors. A Christian martyr is regarded as one who is put to death for his Christian faith or convictions. Confessors are people who died natural deaths. Date of Death: Unknown Cause of Death: Dragged to death by wild horses. 

Why is Saint Hippolytus the patron of Horses and Prisons?
Why is Saint Hippolytus is the patron of Horses and Prisons? Because he was a Roman gaoler who was martyred by being bound by the feet to the tails of two wild horses and dragged to death.

How Saint Hippolytus is represented in Christian Art
It is helpful to be able to recognise Saint Hippolytus in paintings, stained glass windows, illuminated manuscripts, architecture and other forms of Christian art. The artistic representations reflect the life or death of saints, or an aspect of life with which the person is most closely associated. Saint Hippolytus is represented in Christian Art by being bound by the feet to the tails of two wild horses. Occasionally we find him having a bunch of keys hanging from his girdle, as the gaoler of Saint Lawrence.

Feast Day of Saint Hippolytus
The Feast Day of Saint Hippolytus is August 13th. The origin of Feast Days: most saints have specially designated feast days and are associated with a specific day of the year and these are referred to as the saint's feast day. The feast days first arose from the very early Christian custom of the annual commemoration of martyrs on the dates of their deaths at the same time celebrating their birth into heaven.

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