|Predecessor||Pope Sixtus I|
|Papacy began||126 AD|
|Papacy ended||137 AD|
|Styles of |
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Telesphorus is traditionally reckoned as being the seventh Roman bishop in succession after Saint Peter. The Liber Pontificalis mentions that he had been an anchorite (or hermit) monk prior to assuming office. According to the testimony of Irenaeus (Against Heresies III.3.3), he suffered a "glorious" martyrdom. Although all early popes are called martyrs by sources such as the Liber Ponificalis, Telesphorus is the first to whom Ireneaus, writing considerably earlier, gives this title.
Eusebius (Church History iv.7; iv.14) places the beginning of his pontificate in the twelfth year of the reign of Emperor Hadrian (128–129) and gives the date of his death as being in the first year of the reign of Antoninus Pius (138–139).
The tradition of Christmas Midnight Masses, the celebration of Easter on Sundays, the keeping of a seven-week Lent before Easter and the singing of the Gloria are usually attributed to his pontificate, but some historians doubt that such attributions are accurate.
A fragment of a letter from Ireaeus to Pope Victor I during the Easter controversy in the late 2nd century, also preserved by Eusebius, testifies that Telesphorus was one of the Roman bishops who always celebrated Easter on Sunday, rather than on other days of the week according to the calculation of the Jewish Passover. Unlike Victor, however, Telesphorus remained in communion with those communities that did not follow this custom.
- Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-140-51312-4.
- Kelly, J.N.D. Oxford Dictionary of Popes. (1986). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
- Benedict XVI. The Roman Martyrology. Gardners Books, 2007. ISBN 9780548133743.
- Chapman, John. Studies on the Early Papacy. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1971. ISBN 9780804611398.
- Fortescue, Adrian, and Scott M. P. Reid. The Early Papacy: To the Synod of Chalcedon in 451. Southampton: Saint Austin Press, 1997. ISBN 9781901157604.
- Loomis, Louise Ropes. The Book of Popes (Liber Pontificalis). Merchantville, NJ: Evolution Publishing. ISBN 1889758868
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