SO7096 : St Calixtus' church at Astley Abbotts
taken 11 years ago, near to Astley Abbotts, Shropshire, England
St Calixtus' church at Astley Abbotts
The exterior of the Grade B Listed church, parts of which date back to the 12th century, although there have been alterations and improvements in the intervening years.
St Calixtus, according to the stories, was originally a slave of the Romans. His master put him in charge of some money that had been collected for alms, but he managed to lose the money, and fled. He was recaptured and partially forgiven, but was then caught fighting in a synagogue, and hence sentenced to serve in the mines of Sardinia.
Upon his release, he fell into the arms of the Catholic church, and cared for a series of burial chambers (catacombs) on the Appian Way. He worked his way up through the church hierarchy very successfully, and became Pope in 217AD. However, he'd made a number of enemies along the way, and the belief is that one of these, by the name of Hippolytus, in effect accused him of what amounted to unacceptable liberalism for the time, as well as a particular form of heresy. As a result, so goes the story, he was murdered by being thrown down a well, and his papacy ended at that point. All in all, it's an interesting tale, but there isn't necessarily any truth in this part of the story (apart from the bit about him no longer being Pope...).
Anyhow, quite how a church in rural Shropshire comes to have an association with all these proceedings in Rome many years ago, I haven't worked out.
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