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ST. CAIUS

283 - 296 AD

If an account of the martyrdom of St. Susanna were correct, there would be a very interesting fact about Pope St. Caius--that he was a relative of the terrible persecutor, Diocletian. But scholars give small credit to the account of the martyrdom of St. Susanna. It is true that the "Liber Pontificalis" confirms this relationship of Caius with Diocletian, but the "Liber Pontificalis" pretty clearly leaned on the unhistorical account of St. Susanna for its information.

There is little information available on Pope St. Caius except that given by the "Liber Pontificalis." The accounts of popes and acts of the martyrs were quite probably destroyed when Diocletian made a determined effort to do away with all Christian writings.

St. Caius was a Dalmatian, the son of Caius. He decreed that before a man could be bishop, he must first be porter, reader, exorcist, acolyte, subdeacon, deacon, and priest. He also divided the districts of Rome among the deacons.

When the persecution of Diocletian began to rage, so we are told, St. Caius took refuge in the catacombs and died there a confessor. But actually the persecution of Diocletian did not even begin until six or seven years after the death of St. Caius. It is true that during the pontificate of Caius, Diocletian ascended the imperial throne, but at first the great organizer was anything but hostile to the Christians.

At this period, however, work on the catacombs was pushed vigorously. New galleries were excavated and small churches built over them.

St. Caius died in 296 and was buried in the Cemetery of Calixtus. His tombstone has been pieced together. The feast of St. Caius together with that of Pope St. Soter is celebrated on April 22.


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