St. Telesphorus

Pope, Martyr

January 5

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.

Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS

Ferial Day (Nativity)

Introit • Ps. 9, 2, 6

A light shall shine upon us this day: for Our Lord is born to us; and He shall be called wonderful, God, the prince of peace, the Father of the world to come; of Whose reign there shall be no end. Ps. 92, 1. The Lord hath reigned, He is clothed with beauty: the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded Himself. Glory be …

Collect (Prayer)

Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we who are filled with the new light of Thine Incarnate Word, may show forth in our deeds that which by faith shineth in our minds. Through the same.

Epistle • Titus 3, 4-7

Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Titus.

[Other instructions and directions for life and doctrine.]

Dearly beloved, the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared: Not by the works of justice, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the laver of regeneration, and renovation of the Holy Ghost; Whom he hath poured forth upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour: That, being justified by his grace, we may be heirs, according to hope of life everlasting: in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Gradual • Ps. 117, 26, 27, 23

Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; the Lord is God and He hath shone upon us. This is the Lord’s doing; and it is wonderful in our eyes.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 92, 1. The Lord hath reigned, He is clothed with beauty; the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded Himself with power. Alleluia.

Gospel • Luke 2, 15-20

Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke. 

[The birth of Christ. His presentation in the temple. Simeon's prophecy. Christ at twelve years of age, is found amongst the doctors.]

At that time, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us.
And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Offertory • Ps. 92, 1, 2

God hath established the world, which shall not be moved: Thy throne, O God, is prepared from the old; Thou art from everlasting.


May our gifts, we pray Thee, O Lord, come forth agreeable to the mysteries of this day’s nativity, and my they shower upon us peace; that as He who was begotten as man shone forth also as God, so also may this earthly substance bring us that which is divine. Through the same.

Communion • Zach. 9, 9

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout of joy, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold the King comes, holy and the Saviour of the world.


May the Christmas renewal of this sacrament ever restore us, O Lord, Whose miraculous birth did put away the ancient things of mankind Through the same.