The holy Priest Martyr Hyppolitus is known as an eloquent preacher, theologian and hymnographer. He wrote a Paschal canon, and several influential treatises, notably, “on Christ” and “On antichrist”. Also among his works were his commentaries on the books of the Holy Scripture. The few writings that have survived to our time show his mastery in preaching and eloquence.
Yet the Church did not glorify him as a theologian but as a martyr. He was serving as Bishop the town of Ostia, a Roman seaport, and was already at an advanced age. Hearing about the suffering of the fellow Christians for their belief in Christ, he came to their trial and condemned the cruelty and injustice done to them. His appearance infuriated the judge who immediately sentenced him to severe torture and death by drowning. On the orders of the judge, the saint’s tormentors tied him up and threw him into the sea.
The Christians whom Saint Hyppolitus defended also died as martyrs, and were glorified by the Church. Saint Censorinus, a high-level Roman official, had been thrown in prison for being a Christian, and as a prisoner revived a dead person. His miracle brought to Christ several dozen people – mostly the prison guards. All were beheaded with Saint Censorius. The maiden Chrysia was tortured and drowned in the sea. Saint Sabinus was tortured and burned alive.