Callistus, Kallistos in Greek, had the misfortune of being known mainly through the writings of his most bitter enemies, [[Tertullian]] and [[Hippolytus of Rome|Hippolytus]]. Of Greek origin, Callistus was born in Rome during the middle part of the second century. While he was born into the noble Domizii family, his early life was tumultuous and saw him imprisoned and exiled for common crimes.
According to Hippolytus, in his ''Philosophumena'', Callistus was in the employ of the household of Carpophorus, a Christian, entrusted with running a bank with funds from fellow Christians. After losing these funds Callistus took flight but was captured and was consigned first, with slaves, to a hand mill and later to mines in Sardinia. Released while [[Victor of Rome|Victor]] was [[bishop]] of Rome, Callistus was sent to Antium, present day Anzio. When Zephyrius became bishop of Rome, Callistus was placed in charge of a cemetery that later took on his name as the Catacomb of St. Callistus. Callistus was able to gain great influence over Zephyrius and soon became [[archdeacon]] and then, on the death of Zephyrius, the ruling bishop of Rome.
Regardless of the veracity of many of the details in Hippolytus' narration of the life of Callistus, Callistus was valuable to Bp. Zephyrius as he guided the bishop through the formative theology of the day to what he saw as orthodox, as Zephyrius floundered through the many heretical beliefs that sprang up during that era.