For this you did not expect: Pontius Pilate was once considered a saint!

Pontius Pilate is undoubtedly one of the best known biblical figures, even among non-Christians. What many people do not know is that he, the one who washed his hands at the condemnation of Jesus Christ, allowing him to be beaten and crucified, has already been considered holy and revered by some Christians.

Prefect of Judea between 26 and 36 BC, Pontius Pilate was always described as a politician who felt contempt for the Jewish people, especially after trying to smuggle effigies of the emperor of Jerusalem, an attitude disapproved by the Jews. To contain the protesters, Pilate threatened them with death and, when he realized that they were willing to die without changing his mind, the politician eventually backed down and removed the stolen images.

According to reports by the philosopher Philo of Alexandria, Pilate was a politician who ruled on the basis of “bribery, insults, theft, offense, wanton injustice, unjustified executions, and ceaseless and painful cruelty, ” practices that ended over time., putting the politician in trouble. Out of office, Pilate was called to Rome to explain allegations of excessive cruelty. At that time, he was exiled to France.

Various interpretations

This same Pilate is represented differently in the Bible, which refers to him as a mayor who did not challenge the Jewish people - on the contrary: he was even intimidated by him. The judgment of Jesus Christ itself shows that Pilate and Herod throw the case to each other, and ultimately there is ambiguity in clarifying who is to blame for the death of Jesus.

Pilate's apparent reluctance to condemn Jesus was the starting point for early Christians to begin weaving milder stories about the mayor. Two centuries after Christ's death, people referred to Pilate as if he had recognized Jesus' innocence and divinity. According to Tertullian's writings, Pilate was a Christian and attempted to convert Emperor Tiberius to Christianity.

Eusebius, a 4th-century church historian, said that Tiberius remained pagan, but was impressed by Pilate's Christian discourse - so impressed that he determined that the Roman Senate should add Jesus Christ to the official pantheon. In addition, the emperor punished with death anyone who attacked the Christians.

Tiberius's successor, Caligula, who, as you may recall, was not the most malleable person in the world, ended the former emperor's peace policies, even saying that Pilate should commit suicide.

Pilate's Acts

Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon once reported that a church of Carpocracians had a picture of Jesus Christ painted by Pilate himself. At that time, a document circulated called “Acts of Pilate”, which defended the politician as God's instrument in allowing Jesus to be killed.

The document also showed Pilate as a person who respected the Jewish people and even had some sympathy for the Jews who stood against the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Even St. Augustine even referred to Pilate as one of the prophets in his sermons. The flood of good information passed on over Pilate made many Christians compare him with Daniel and Abraham, heroes of the Old Testament.

The biblical version

Historians believe that Pontius Pilate's role in Christ's death was minimized in the Gospels with the intention of spreading Christianity among the Romans - so Pilate became the model of a Roman who refused to persecute Christians. Thus the Romans generally saw themselves as a fundamental people in God's plan of salvation.

It is not clear what would have happened to Pilate after his resignation. Some say he would have killed himself. Eusebius, however, believed that Pilate committed suicide because he felt guilty for participating in the death of Jesus Christ. The Ethiopian church, on the other hand, defended the former mayor of these "slanders" and even canonized him, declaring June 25 as St. Pontius Pilate's Day.