Feast Day : April 22
Soter was an Italian from the Campagna. He succeeded St. Anicetus as pope around 166 and reigned until about 175. During his rule, Easter became an annual celebration. Soter’s influence was widespread, thanks partly to his charity, his personal kindness, and his support for those who were persecuted for their faith by being deported from Rome to the mines and prisons. Like SS. Paul and Clement, he wrote a pastoral letter to the troubled Church of Corinth, even sending gifts to the congregation. Soter also was called upon to discipline the Montanists, a Christian sect that preached that the heavenly Jerusalem would soon descend near Pepuza, a town in Phrygia. They criticized other Christians for not fasting enough and not prophesying enough, for want of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, said the Montanists, Christians should not marry again if one partner had died. The movement was dividing the Roman Church. Soter condemned the leaders, issuing an encyclical outlining their errors. No records of Soter’s death survive, though he is listed in early martyrologies.