Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Pontitianus, a soldier
|←Pontianus, bp. of Rome|| Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century
Pontitianus, a soldier
|Pontius, a deacon of Carthage→|
Pontitianus, a soldier, perhaps of the praetorian guard, an African by birth and a Christian, who indirectly contributed much towards the conversion of St. Augustine, who relates in his Confessions how one day, while he was at Milan with Alypius, Pontitianus came, as it seemed by accident, to visit his countrymen, and found on the table a book containing the writings of St. Paul, and having expressed some surprise, informed the friends that he was a Christian and constantly prayed to God both in public worship and at home. The conversation then turned upon Anthony the Egyptian monk, of whose history Pontitianus knew much more than they did. He told them how, when he was at Trèves, in attendance on the emperor, with three comrades he went to the public gardens. Having separated, two of them met again at the dwelling of a recluse, and found there an account of St. Anthony, which one read to the other until he was stirred to relinquish his military life and enlist in the service of God as a monk, and prevailed on his companion to join him. Pontitianus and the fourth member of the party coming up, the other two endeavoured to persuade them to follow their example, but without success. They returned to the palace while the disciples of St. Anthony remained behind. We hear no more of Pontitianus; for the sequel see AUGUSTINE (Aug. Conf. viii. 6, 7).