St. Soter was a Campanian from Fundi, the modern Fondi. His father's
name was Concordius. He decreed that no monk should touch the consecrated
altar cloth or offer incense in church. Some manuscripts read "nun"
instead of "monk" in the above prohibition.
These meager details, given for what they are worth, are from the sixth-
century "Liber Pontificalis," but for St. Soter there is a very
interesting reference in the early fourth-century "Ecclesiastical
History of Eusebius." Eusebius speaking of St. Dionysius, bishop of
Corinth, says (IV, xxiii, 9- 15):
"There is moreover, extant a letter of Dionysius to the Romans
addressed to Soter who was then bishop, and there is nothing better than
to quote the words in which he welcomes the custom of the Romans which
was observed down to the persecution in our own times. 'This has been your
custom from the beginning, to do good in manifold ways to all Christians,
and to send contributions to the many churches in every city, in some places
relieving the poverty of the needy and ministering to the Christians in
the mines, by the contribution which you have sent from the beginning,
preserving the ancestral custom of the Romans, true Romans as you are.
Your blessed bishop Soter has not only carried on the habit but has even
increased it, by administering the bounty distributed to the saints and
by exhorting with his blessed words the brethren who come to Rome, as a
loving father would his children.'"
In this same letter he also quotes the letter of Clement to the Corinthians,
showing that from the beginning it had been the custom to read it in the
church. "Today we observed the holy day of the Lord, and read out
your letter, which we shall continue to read from time to time for our
admonition, as we do that formerly sent us by Clement."
This letter shows that Pope St. Soter was very charitable. It also
indicates the high respect the Corinthians had for the letter of Pope St.
Clement and the letter of Soter. The "persecution in our own times"
mentioned by Eusebius was the persecution of Diocletian. The words of Eusebius
are testimony that the Roman See was as preeminent in charity as it was
St. Soter was buried in the cemetery of Calixtus. He is honored by
the Church as a martyr. His feast together with that of St. Caius, is celebrated
on April 22.