lundi 5 janvier 2015

Saint TÉLESPHORE, Pape et martyr


Saint Télesphore

Pape (8 ème) de 125 à 136 et martyr ( 136)


Originaire de la Grande Grèce, il nous est peu connu. Il aurait décrété que le "Gloria" soit chanté à la messe de la nuit de Noël. Selon la Tradition rapportée par saint Irénée et Eusèbe, il fut le premier pape, après saint Pierre, à avoir été martyrisé. Les Églises d'Orient le fêtent le 22 février. Sa mémoire est célébrée le 5 janvier dans l'Église catholique romaine. 

Martyrologe romain au 2 janvier: À Rome, vers 136, la mise au tombeau de saint Télesphore, pape. Au témoignage de saint Irénée, il fut institué septième évêque de cette ville depuis les Apôtres, et rendit un glorieux témoignage.


Martyrologe romain


St Télesphore, pape et martyr

Le Liber Pontificalis donne le 2 janvier pour la déposition de St Télesphore, attesté par St Irénée. C’est à cette date qu’il été fêté avant qu’une confusion s’installe avec un martyr homonyme du Martyrologe Hiéronymien fêté le 5.

Jusqu’à 1955, le 5 janvier étant le jour de la Vigile de l’Épiphanie, St Télesphore n’était que commémoré. Sa fête a gardé ce degré et n’a donc pas de lectures à Matines.

Il faut noter que la fête est inscrite dans le Temporal du Missel et non au Sanctoral, comme toutes les fêtes de saints tombant entre la Nativité du Seigneur et l’Octave de l’Épiphanie (du 25 décembre au 13 janvier). 

Textes de la Messe

die 5 ianuarii

le 5 janvier
S. Telesphori

S. Télesphore
Papæ et Mart.

Pape et Martyr
Commemoratio

Commémoraison
Post 1942

Missa Si díligis me, de Communi Summorum Pontificum.

Ante 1942

Missa Sacerdótes Dei, de Communi unius Martyris 2 loco.

Après 1942



Messe Si díligis me, du Commun des Souverains Pontifes.



Avant 1942


Messe Sacerdótes Dei, du Commun d’un Martyr 2.

Dom Guéranger, l’Année Liturgique

La sainte Église Romaine fait mémoire en ce jour d’un de ses Papes Martyrs, saint Télesphore. Ce Pontife monta sur le Siège Apostolique l’an 127 ; et parmi les décrets qu’il rendit, on remarque celui par lequel il établissait l’usage de célébrer la Messe durant la nuit de Noël, pour honorer l’heure de là Naissance du Christ, et un autre dans lequel il décrète que l’Hymne Angélique Gloria in excelsis Deo serait chantée ordinairement au commencement du saint Sacrifice. Cette piété du saint Pape envers le grand mystère que nous célébrons en ces jours, rend sa mémoire plus vénérable encore à l’époque de l’année où elle tombe. Télesphore souffrit un glorieux martyre, selon l’expression de saint Irénée, et fut couronné de la gloire céleste, l’an 138.

Bhx Cardinal Schuster, Liber Sacramentorum

Aujourd’hui le Martyrologe Hiéronymien commémore un martyr du nom de Télesphore, mais en Afrique. Par la suite, l’homonymie a fait mentionner le pape Télesphore, et c’est ainsi que sa mémoire en ce jour a pénétré dans le calendrier romain durant le bas moyen âge.

De Télesphore, successeur de Sixte Ier dans le pontificat romain, nous ne savons avec certitude que ce qui nous est rapporté par saint Irénée. Tandis que celui-ci, relatant la liste des premiers papes, ne dit absolument rien de leur mort sanglante, quand il arrive à Télesphore, il atteste : ‘qui subit glorieusement le martyre’ [1].

Par conséquent vers le milieu du IIe siècle, Télesphore gloriose martyrium fecit, et son corps fut déposé en paix dans la nécropole vaticane, près de la tombe de saint Pierre.

Aujourd’hui, la messe étant celle de la vigile de l’Épiphanie, on y ajoute la simple commémoraison du martyr.

[1] Contr. Haer., III, c. II, P. G., VII, col. 851.

Dom Pius Parsch, le Guide dans l’année liturgique

Saint Télesphore (127-137). — « A Rome, le pape saint Télesphore. Il souffrit sous Antonin le Pieux, après de nombreux tourments, la mort glorieuse du martyre pour la foi chrétienne. » — La fête du premier pape martyr, dans l’année nouvelle, nous rappelle que beaucoup de vicaires de Jésus-Christ ont rendu à Notre Seigneur le témoignage du sang. Recommandons-nous à tous les saints papes martyrs.


Pope Saint Telesphorus

Pope St. Telesphorus (ca. 125 – 138 AD) was a Greek who had been an anchorite. He ruled the Church in the time of Emperor Antoninus Pius. To St. Telesphorus are attributed some church practices which endure down to this day. According to the “Liber Pontificalis” St. Telesphorus ordered a fast for seven weeks before Easter. That the Lenten fast goes back even before the time of Telesphorus, St. Irenaeus gives testimony. But the length of the fast varied considerably in those early days. It is probable enough that Pope St. Telesphorus did make some regulation as to the length of the Lenten fast.

A custom much loved even today is also attributed to St. Telesphorus. He is said to have ordered that although Mass was not celebrated before the hour of tierce (i.e., 9 to 12 o’clock in the morning) at Christmas time Mass should be celebrated at night. This is the first mention of the beloved midnight Mass. However, scholars doubt whether this decree actually does go back to the time of St. Telesphorus.

St. Telesphorus is said also to have decreed that the Gloria in excelsis should be sung at the Christmas Mass and only at the Christmas Mass. This magnificent hymn of praise is not said at all Masses even today. As late as the eleventh century, though the Pope could say it oftener, priests were not allowed to say it except at Easter.

St. Telesphorus died a martyr as is known not only from the “Liber Pontificalis” but also from the earlier testimony of St. Irenaeus. He was buried near St. Peter on the Vatican. His feast is kept on January 5 in the Roman liturgy and February 22 in the Greek.


Pope St. Telesphorus

 (Lived about 125-136.)

St. Telesphorus was the seventh Roman bishop in succession from the Apostles, and, according to the testimony of St. Irenæus (Against Heresies III.3.3), suffered a glorious martyrdom. Eusebius (Church History IV.7, IV.14) places the beginning of his pontificate in the twelfth 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 Lightfoot, "The Apostolic Fathers", I (London, 1899), 201 sq., section on "Early Roman Successions", and Harnack, "Geschlichte der alchristl. Literatur", pt. II, "Die Chronologie", I (Leipzing, 1879), 70 sq. In the fragment of the letter of Irenæus of Lyons to Pope Victor concerning the celebration of Easter (Eusebius, Church History V.24), 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 5 January; the Greek Church celebrates it on 22 February.


Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Pope St. Telesphorus." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company,1912. 23 Dec. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14477b.htm>.


SAINT TELESPHORUS A.D. 12

SAINT TELESPHORUS was a Greek by birth, though some authors say that he was born in Terranova, in Calabria. It is by some affirmed that his father was an anchorite, and that Telesphorus himself was Roman by birth. Some say that by his decrees he confirmed the observance of Lent; and others affirm that the quadragesimal fast came down by tradition, as stated by Saint Ignatius, Saint Jerome, and Theophilus. At any rate, he is credited with having introduced the "Gloria in Excelsis"; in the Mass. This holy pope suffered martyrdom, A.D. 139. In his four ordinations Telesphorus created thirteen bishops, fifteen priests, and eight deacons. Some pious Christians removed his body after execution, and placed it near that of Saint Peter, in the Vatican. It is said that this pope ordered that all priests should celebrate three Masses on Christmas day. However, this observance was followed under Saint Gregory the Great. Saint Telesphorus presided over the Holy See during eleven years, eight months, and eighteen days.



St. Telesphorus, Pope and Martyr

HE was a Grecian by birth, and the seventh bishop of Rome. Towards the end of the year 128, he succeeded Saint Sixtus I. sat eleven years, and saw the havoc which the persecution of Adrian made in the church. “He ended his life by an illustrious martyrdom,” says Eusebius; 1 which is also confirmed by St. Irenæus. 2

Note 1. Hist. l. 4. c. 10. [back]

Note 2. L. 3. c. 3. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume I: January. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


Telesphorus, Pope M (RM)

Died 136. Saint Telesphorus was born in Greece, followed Pope Saint Sixtus I to the papacy, and reigned for ten years. Of the fourteen bishops who succeeded Saint Peter, to the end of the 2nd century, every one is listed as a martyr. In the case of some of them, martyrdom is historically improbable, and for none of them does good historical evidence for the correctness of the tradition still exist, with one exception: Saint Telesphorus. Even for him the circumstances are not known; Saint Ireneaus (c. 125-203) simply says that he suffered a glorious martyrdom under the Emperor Hadrian. Saint Telesphorus is commemorated in both the Greek and Latin churches (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney). In art, Saint Telesphorus is shown as a pope with a chalice, over which three Hosts hover, there might also be a club nearby (Roeder).