If an account of the martyrdom of St. Susanna were correct, there would be
a very interesting fact about Pope St. Caius--that he was a relative of the
terrible persecutor, Diocletian. But scholars give small credit to the
account of the martyrdom of St. Susanna. It is true that the "Liber
Pontificalis" confirms this relationship of Caius with Diocletian, but the
Liber Pontificalis pretty clearly leaned on the unhistorical account of
St. Susanna for its information.
There is little information available on Pope St. Caius except that given
by the "Liber Pontificalis." The accounts of popes and acts of the martyrs
were quite probably destroyed when Diocletian made a determined effort to
do away with all Christian writings.
St. Caius was a Dalmatian, the son of Caius. He decreed that before a man
could be bishop, he must first be porter, reader, exorcist, acolyte,
subdeacon, deacon, and priest. He also divided the districts of Rome among
When the persecution of Diocletian began to rage, so we are told, St. Caius
took refuge in the catacombs and died there a confessor. But actually the
persecution of Diocletian did not even begin until six or seven years after
the death of St. Caius. It is true that during the pontificate of Caius,
Diocletian ascended the imperial throne, but at first the great organizer
was anything but hostile to the Christians.
At this period, however, work on the catacombs was pushed vigorously.
New galleries were excavated and small churches built over them.
St. Caius died in 296 and was buried in the Cemetery of Calixtus. His
tombstone has been pieced together. The feast of St. Caius together with
that of Pope St. Soter is celebrated on April 22.Excerpted from "Popes
Through the Ages" by Joseph Brusher, S.J.