The Adventures of Callistus I, The Pope Who Did Hard Time

A slave who lost the Church’s money, ran away and was captured, was flogged and sentenced to hard labor for starting a fight in a synagogue, faced harsh criticism from some of the leading minds of the early church, endured the first schism, and saw his story written by one of his bitterest enemies.

St. John’s Obedient Bedbugs

Like several of the apocryphal books of the Bible, the Acts of John likely preserves some historical core around which legendary (and eventually some heretical) material accrued as it wended its way through time and place.┬áIn The Fate of the Apostles, Sean McDowell argues convincingly that, in spite of their obvious ahistorical material, apocrypha like…

The Top of St. Thomas Becket’s Skull

The martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket has a been a popular subject for artists from the middle ages to the 20th century, but one detail of the murder stands out in a few depictions. These show the top of the saints skull being shorn off by the first blow, like so: And: And: Medieval art…

St. Denis’s Wonderful Talking Head

St. Denis was the Bishop of Paris in the 3rd century, and his success in converting the local pagans was met with alarm by the Roman governor. Along with two companions,┬áRusticus and Eleutherius*, he was imprisoned, possibly during the Decian persecution in the 250s. This must have been one of those persecutions that some say…