Pope Saint Pontian reigned from 230-235 and holds the distinction of being the first pontiff to abdicate. Perhaps a Roman by birth, he was elected to succeed St. Urban I and devoted much of his reign to upholding the condemnation of the heretical aspects of Origenism and struggled against the schismatic movement which supported the antipope St. Hippolytus.
In 235, Pontian was arrested by Roman officials at the instigation of the persecution of the Church by Emperor Maximinus I Thrax.
With St. Hippolytus, St. Pontian was exiled to the infamous mines of Sardinia and, in order to make certain that the Church was not deprived of its leadership, Pontian stepped down, the first pope ever to do so. He and Hippolytus reconciled on the the Island and both died martyrs on Sardinia. Their remains were returned to Rome under Pope St. Fabian.