Didn’t he crucify Jesus?
Even with that evidence some Christians venerate him as a saint, with a feast day on June 25.
Why is that?
According to the Biblical Archeology Society, “early Christians saw Pilate in a very different way. Augustine hailed Pilate as a convert. Eventually, certain churches, including the Greek Orthodox and Coptic faiths, named Pilate and his wife saints. And when Pilate first shows up in Christian art in the mid-fourth century, he is juxtaposed with Abraham, Daniel and other great believers.”
The ancient historian Eusebius supports this claim by saying Pilate converted after seeing the many wonders that occurred after Jesus’ death, even reporting it to Tiberius.
And when the wonderful resurrection and ascension of our Savior were already reported abroad, in accordance with an ancient custom which prevailed among the rulers of the provinces, of reporting to the emperor the novel occurrences which took place in them, in order that nothing might escape him, Pontius Pilate informed Tiberius of the reports which were reported abroad through all Palestine concerning the resurrection of our Savior Jesus from the dead. He gave an account also of other wonders which he had learned of him, and how, after his death, having risen from the dead, he was now believed by many to be a God.
There have been several conflicting reports over the centuries, but many Eastern Churches (such as the Coptic and Ethiopian churches) celebrate Pontius Pilate and his wife as saints. It may be strange for Western readers to hear of such veneration, but it is a reminder that no one is excluded from the grace of God.
Even Pontius Pilate, who sent Jesus off to die, could be redeemed and may even be a saint in heaven.
With God, all things are possible.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?