You wouldn't think that there would be so many men named Zosimus, much less that so many of them would be saints. There doesn't seem to be a great deal of information about any of them, so I will attempt to give a brief overview of them all here.

Pope Zosimus

We don't know when he was born. He was probably Greek, and may have been of Jewish descent - his father's name was Abram. He was elected Pope after the death of Innocent I, having been recommended by John Chrysostom. Pope Zosimus reigned from 417-18 - a whole year! During his time as Pope, he formally condemned the Pelagian heresy. Innocent I had condemned it too, but the heresy was so appealing in its denial of original sin that it just wouldn't go away.

Zosimus also worked to expand papal supremacy, but was not very successful due to personality clashes with local bishops. Several letters written by him survive, as well as a Decree ordering priests to stay out of taverns. Pope Zosimus died in Rome on December 27, 418. He was apparently much disliked in Rome, and his passing was cause for celebrations in the streets.

Zosimus of Palestine

This Zosimus was a hermit who lived on the banks of the Jordan River in the fifth century. He is remembered for his discovery of Saint Mary of Egypt (the story of which is beautifully detailed by Ceallach in that writeup), and for the writing of her biography.

Zosimus of Syracuse

Zosimus of Syracuse was born around 570, somewhere in Sicily. When he was only 7 years old, he was placed by his wealthy parents in a monastery near Syracuse. At the monastery, he was charged with the task of watching over the relics of Santa Lucia. How boring! He ran away from the monastery, but his parents sent him back in disgrace. Soon thereafter, he had a vision of Santa Lucia. She seemed angry at him, but was appeased by Mary and accepted his promise to do better in the future.

After that, he settled down and served as a monk for thirty years before being elected as abbot of the monastery. In 649, he was made the reluctant bishop of Syracuse and became widely known for his care of the poor and his educational programs. He remained the bishop until his death at the age of 90.


There were several martyrs named Zosimus. The first, a citizen of Antioch, died in 107 with Saint Rufus during the reign of Trajan after being thrown to the beasts in the arena.

The next Saint Zosimus was martyred three years later in Umbria, Italy, also on Trajan's watch.

And finally, in 303, yet another Zosimus was executed during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian, this time with a Saint Athanasius.

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