St. Fabian

St. Fabian

St. Fabian

Feastday: January 20
+ 250

Eusebius, born just a few years after Fabian’s death, tells us how Fabian came to Rome after Pope Anteros died in 236. A layperson, and not a very important one, he may have come for the same reason many still come to Rome today during a papal election: concern for the future of the faith, curiosity about the new pope, a desire to grieve for the pope who had passed. Seeing all the important people gathered to make this momentous decision must have been overwhelming. Which one would be the new pope? Someone known for power? Someone known for eloquence? Someone known for courage?

Suddenly during the discussion, a dove descended from the ceiling. But it didn’t settle on "someone known" for anything at all. The dove, according to Eusebius, "settled on [Fabian’s] head as clear imitation of the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove upon the Savior." There must have been something of the Holy Spirit working because everyone suddenly proclaimed Fabian as "worthy" to be pope and this stranger was elected.

To us the dove signifies peace, and this dove was prophetic. Starting close to Fabian’s election, the suffering and persecuted Church began a time of peace. The emperor, Philip, was friendly to Christians and not only was the persecution stopped but Christians experienced acceptance.

In this era of peace, Fabian was able to build up the structure of the Church of Rome, appointing seven deacons and helping to collect the acts of the martyrs.

But, in a timeless story, the people who had always been in power were not happy to see the newcomers growing and thriving. There were many incidents of pagans attacking Christians and when Philip died so died the time of peace. The new emperor, Decius, ordered all Christians to deny Christ by offering incense to idols or through some other pagan ritual.

In the few years of peace, the Church had grown soft. Many didn’t have the courage to stand up to martyrdom. But Fabian, singled out by symbol of peace, stood as a courageous example for everyone in his flock. He died a martyr in 250 and is buried in the Cemetery of Calixtus that he helped rebuild and beautify. A stone slab with his name can still be found there.

In His Footsteps:

Pray for all places where the Church suffers persecution and for all who face death, danger, or isolation for their faith. But pray especially for all who live where the Church is accepted and thrives in peace that this peace will not make their faith flabby and weak.

Prayer:

Pope Saint Fabian, it’s so easy to believe that peace means a life without conflict or suffering. Help us to see that the only true peace is the peace Christ brings. Never let us as a Church or as individual Christians choose to deny our beliefs simply to avoid an unpleasant situation. Amen

from Wikipedia

Pope Fabian ruled from 10 January 236 to 20 January 250, succeeding Pope Anterus. He is honored as a saint by the Catholic Church.

Eusebius of Caesarea (Church History, VI. 29) relates how the Christians, having assembled in Rome to elect a new bishop, saw a dove alight upon the head of Fabian, a layman and stranger to the city, who was thus marked out for this dignity and was at once proclaimed bishop by acclamation, although there were several famous men among the candidates for the vacant position.[1]

He is said to have baptized Philip the Arab and his son, to have done some building in the catacombs, to have improved the organization of the church in Rome, and to have appointed officials to register the deeds of the martyrs.[2]

According to "later accounts, more or less trustworthy", Fabian sent out the "apostles to the Gauls" to Christianize Gaul after the persecutions under Emperor Decius had all but dissolved the small Christian communities. Fabian sent seven bishops from Rome to Gaul to preach the Gospel: Gatianus of Tours to Tours, Trophimus of Arles to Arles, Paul of Narbonne to Narbonne, Saturnin to Toulouse, Denis to Paris, Austromoine to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Clermont, and Saint Martial to Limoges. He also had the bodies of Hippolytus of Rome and Pope Pontian brought from Sardinia to Rome. He was martyred during the persecution of Christians under Emperor Decius and was one of the first to die on 20 January 250.[3]

His deeds are thus described in the Liber Pontificalis: Hic regiones dividit diaconibus et fecit vii subdiacones, qui vii notariis imminerent, Ut gestas martyrum integro fideliter colligerent, et multas fabricas per cymiteria fieri praecepit. ("He divided these regions into deaconships and made seven sub-deaconships which seven secretaries oversaw, so that they brought together the deeds of the martyrs faithfully made whole, and he brought forth many works in the cemeteries.")[2]

Although there is very little authentic information about Fabian, there is evidence that his episcopate was one of great importance in the history of the early church. He was highly esteemed by Cyprian; Novatian refers to his nobilissima memoriae, and he corresponded with Origen. One authority refers to him as Flavian.[2]

Fabian’s feast day is kept on 20 January.[4]

Fabian was buried in the catacomb of Callixtus. The Greek inscription on his tomb has survived.[1] His remains were later interred at San Sebastiano fuori le mura by Pope Clement XI where the Albani Chapel is dedicated in his honour.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-14-051312-4.
  2. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Fabian, Saint". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ "Pope St. Fabian". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
  4. ^ Gross, Ernie. This Day in Religion. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. ISBN 1-55570-045-4
  5. ^ http://www.enrosadira.it/santi/f/fabiano.htm

from Wikipedia

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