Telesphorus, Saint, POPE (about 125-136). He was the seventh Roman bishop in succession from the Apostles, and, according to the testimony of St. Irenaeus (Adv. haereses, III, iii, 3), suffered a glorious martyrdom. Eusebius (Hist. eccl., IV, vii, xiv) places the beginning of his pontificate in the twelfth year of Hadrian's reign (128-129), his death in the first year of the reign of Antoninus Pius (138-139). These statements, however, should be compared with Light-foot, "The Apostolic Fathers", I (London, 1899), 201 sq., section on "Early Roman Successions", and Harnack, "Geschichte der altchristl. Literatur", pt. II, "Die Chronologie", I (Leipzig, 1879), 70 sq. In the fragment of the letter of Irenaeus of Lyons to Pope Victor concerning the celebration of Easter (Euseb., "Hist. eccl.," V, xxiv), Telesphorus is mentioned as one of the Roman bishops who always celebrated Easter on Sunday, without, however, abandoning church fellowship with those communities that did not follow this custom. None of the statements in the "Liber pontificalis" and other authorities of a later date as to liturgical and other decisions of this pope are genuine. In the Roman Martyrology his feast is given under January 5; the Greek Church celebrates it on February 22.
J. P. KIRSCH