Saint of the Day – 3 January – Saint Pope Antherus (Died 235) Martyr, Bishop of Rome from 21 November 235 to 3 January 236, the date of his Martyrdom which occurred in Rome under Emperor Julius Maximinus. Also known as Anteros, Anterus, Antheros.
Anterus was the son of Romulus, born in Petilia Policastro, Calabria, Italy. He is thought to have been of Greek origin and his name may indicate that he was a freed slave. He succeeded Pope Pontian, who had been deported from Rome to Sardinia, along with the antipope Hippolytus. He created one Bishop, for the city of Fondi.
We know for certain, only that he reigned some forty days and that he was buried in the famous “Papal crypt” of the Cemetery of Saint Callistus at Rome. He was the first pope buried in the Papal crypt.
The “Liber Pontificalis” says that he was martyred for having caused the Acts of the Martyrs to be collected by notaries and deposited in the archives of the Roman Church. This tradition seems old and respected, nevertheless, the best scholars maintain that it is not sufficiently guaranteed by its sole voucher, the “Liber Pontificalis,” on account, among other things, of the late date of that work’s compilation.
The site of his sepulchre was discovered by De Rossi in 1854, with some broken remnants of the Greek epitaph engraved on the narrow oblong slab that closed his tomb, an index at once of his origin and of the prevalence of Greek in the Roman Church up to that date. His relics had been removed to the Church of Saint Sylvester in the Campus Martius, Rome and were discovered on 17 November 1595, when Pope Clement VIII rebuilt that Church.