Skip to comments.Saint Fabian, Pope, M.
Posted on 01/20/2003 4:13:10 PM PST by Lady In Blue
ST FABIAN, POPE, M.
[See Tillemont, t. iii. p. 362.]
HE succeeded St. Anterus in the pontificate in the year 236. Eusebius relates that in an assembly of the people and clergy, held for the election of a pastor in his room, a dove, unexpectedly appearing, settled, to the great surprise of all present, on the head of St. Fabian, and that this miraculous sign united the votes of the clergy and people in promoting him, though not thought of before, as being a layman and a stranger. He governed the church sixteen years, sent St. Dionysius and other preachers into Gaul, and condemned Privatus, a broacher of a new heresy in Africa, as appears from St. Cyprian. St. Fabian died a glorious martyr in the persecution of Decius, in 250, as St. Cyprian and St. Jerome witness. The former, writing to his successor, St. Cornelius, calls him an incomparable man, and says that the glory of his death had answered the purity and holiness of his life.
The saints made God, and the accomplishment of his holy will, the great object of all their petitions in their prayers, and their only aim in all their actions. "God," says St. Austin, "in his promises to hear our prayers, is desirous to bestow himself upon us; if you find any thing better than him, ask it, but if you ask any thing beneath him, you put an affront upon him, and hurt yourself by preferring to him a creature which he framed: pray in the spirit and sentiment of love, in which the royal prophet said to him, 'Thou, O Lord, art my portion.' Let others choose to themselves portions among creatures; for my part, Thou are my portion, Thee alone I have chosen for my whole inheritance."
1 Hist lib. vi. c. 28.
2 Cypr. Ep. 30, Ed. Pam.
3 St. Aug. Conc. I, in Ps. 84.
4 Ep. 44, ad Corn.
5 Ps. lxxii. 26.
(Taken from Vol. IV of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler.)
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The Second Epistle
to All the Bishops of the East.
That the chrism1 should be renewed with consecration every year, and that the old supply should be set aside to be burnt in the churches; also concerning the accusing of priests, and on the duty of the sheep not to dare to blame their shepherd unless he errs in the faith.
Fabian, bishop of the city of Rome, to all the bishops of the East, and to the whole body of the faithful, greeting in the Lord.
Your love for the seat of the apostles requires counsels which we neither can nor ought to deny you. It is clear, moreover, that our predecessors did this for the bishops of many districts; and brotherly charity and the debt of obedience impose the duty of so doing also upon us who, by the bountiful goodness of God, are placed in the same seat. Care, therefore, is to be had by your solicitude, that neither remissness may avail to neglect, nor presumption be able to disturb, those things which have been ordained by the apostles and their successors, and established under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But as it was proper that that should be defined which the use of right order required, so what has been so defined ought not to be violated.
That new chrism should be made every year, and the old be burnt.
Now, among other matters, in your letter we find it stated that certain bishops of your district adopt a different practice from yours and ours, and do not prepare the chrism at the Lord's supper every year, but keep it in use for two or three, making such a supply of the holy chrism once for all. For they say, as we find in the letter referred to, that balsam cannot be got every year; and besides that, even though it were got, there would be no necessity for preparing chrism every year, but that, so long as the one preparation of chrism is sufficiently large, they have no need to make another. They are in error, however, who think so; and in making such statements they speak like madmen rather than men in their right senses. For on that day the Lord Jesus, after supping with His disciples, and washing their feet, according to the tradition which our predecessors received from the holy apostles and left to us, taught them to prepare the chrism. That washing of their feet signifies our baptism, as it is completed and confirmed by the unction of the holy chrism. For as the solemn observance of that day is to be kept every year, so the preparing of that holy chrism is to be attended to every year, and it is to be renewed from year to year and given to the faithful. For the material of this new sacrament is to be made anew every year, and on the day already named; and the old supply is to be burned in the holy churches. These things i we have received from the holy apostles an their successors, and we commit them to your keeping. The holy church of Rome and that of Antioch have been guardians of these things from the times of the apostles: these things also the churches of Jerusalem and Ephesus maintain. Presiding over these churches, the apostles taught these things, and ordained that the old chrism should be burnt, and permitted them to use it no longer than one year, and commanded them thereafter to use the new, and not the old material. If any one, therefore, ventures to go against these things, let him understand that the door of indulgence is barred against him on your part and on that of all right-minded men: for the perverse doctrine of most depraved minds, while it uses the reins too indulgently, slips into the sin of presumption; and it can by no means be cast out, unless it is cleared of all support and correction on the part of the intelligent. And those usages which the holy Church throughout the whole world uniformly observes with respect to the divine mysteries, and towards the subjects of baptism, are not to be regarded with indifferent concern, lest we make way for purposeless efforts and superstitions. We ought not, therefore, to bring over the untaught minds of the faithful to such practices as we have named, because they should be instructed rather than played upon. For good deeds make for our happiness, and evil deeds prick us with the stings of sorrow. But here, however we are situated, we are among the hands of robbers and the teeth of raging wolves, and the contumacious are put in the place of the true sheep. And it is by the barking of the dogs and the staff of the shepherd that the fury of the wolves is checked. Those wounds, moreover, which cannot be healed by remedies, must be cut out with the knife. Neither can we keep silence, for, in seeking here to call back some from things unlawful, we ate impelled by the instinct of our office, having been set on the watch-towers by the Lord with this object, that we should prove the diligence of our watchfulness by checking things that should be prohibited, and deciding for things that should be observed.
BTTT on 01-20-05, Feast Day of St. Fabian!
January 19, 2005
Fabian was a Roman layman who came into the city from his farm one day as clergy and people were preparing to elect a new pope. Eusebius, a Church historian, says a dove flew in and settled on the head of Fabian. This sign united the votes of clergy and laity and he was chosen unanimously.
He led the Church for 14 years and died a martyrs death during the persecution of Decius in a.d. 250. St. Cyprian wrote to his successor that Fabian was an incomparable man whose glory in death matched the holiness and purity of his life.
In the catacombs of St. Callistus, the stone that covered Fabians grave may still be seen, broken into four pieces, bearing the Greek words, Fabian, bishop, martyr.
BTTT on the Optional Memorial of St. Fabian, 01-20-06!
|Reading||Letters of St Cyprian|
|Fabian shows us an example of faith and strength|
|When St Cyprian had learnt of Pope Fabians death, he sent this letter to the presbyters and deacons of Rome (250AD):
When the report of the departure of the excellent man, my colleague, was still uncertain among us, my beloved brethren, and I was wavering doubtfully in my opinion on the matter, I received a letter sent to me from you by Crementius the sub-deacon, in which I was fully informed of his glorious end; and I rejoiced greatly that the integrity of his administration had been matched by the nobility of his end.
I greatly congratulate you that you honour his memory with so public and illustrious a testimony, through which you have made known to me not only the memory of your bishop, which confers glory upon you, but also an example of faith and strength that I should follow.
For just as the fall of a bishop tends to bring about the ruinous fall of his followers, so it is a useful and helpful thing when, by the firmness of his faith, a bishop becomes manifest to his brethren as an object of imitation.
Before receiving the above letter, the Church of Rome wrote to Cyprian, bearing witness to its steadfastness in persecution:
The church stands in faith, even though some have been driven to fall by sheer terror, whether because they were people of some eminence or that, when they were seized, they were overwhelmed by the fear of man. We did not abandon these people, although they were separated from us, but exhort them, and exhort them still, to repent, so that they may somehow receive pardon from Him who is able to pardon them, and so that they should not, by being deserted by us, become worse.
So you see, brethren, that you ought to do the same, so that even those who have fallen may be brought to their senses by your exhortation, and confess, if they are seized once more, and so make amends for their former sin. You have other duties too, which we have added here. For example, if anyone who has fallen into this temptation begins to be taken with sickness, and repents of what he has done, and desires communion, it must be granted to them in any case. And if you have widows or bedridden people who cannot maintain themselves, or people who are in prison or otherwise excluded from their own dwellings, they must always have someone to minister to them. Moreover, catechumens who are taken ill should not be disappointed in their hopes, but should also be given help.
The brethren who are in chains greet you, as do the elders and the whole Church, which also, with the deepest anxiety, keeps watch over all who call on the Lord. And we too ask that you in your turn should remember us.
Saint Fabian, Pope and martyr
St. Fabian (+250) was elected pope in 236. He promoted the consolidation and development of the Church. He divided Rome into seven diaconates for the purpose of extending aid to the poor. The papacy acquired such prestige during this time that he incurred the ire of Emperor Decius.
Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003
God our Father, glory of Your priests,
may the prayers of Your martyr Fabian
help us to share his faith
and offer You loving service.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.
First Reading: I Peter 5:1-4
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory.
Gospel Reading: John 21:15-17
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You". He said to him, "Feed My lambs". A second time He said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You". He said to him, "Tend My sheep". He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love You". Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep".
**That new chrism should be made every year, and the old be burnt.**
I don’t think many realize this.
St. Fabian and St. Sebastian have always been venerated together, and their names were coupled in the ancient martyrologies, as they are still in the Litany of Saints.
St. Fabian was Pope from 236 to 250 AD. He promoted the consolidation and development of the Church. He divided Rome into seven diaconates for the purpose of extending aid to the poor. He was one of the first victims of the persecution of Decius, who considered him as a rival and personal enemy.
St. Sebastian, a native of Milan, was an officer in Diocletian's imperial guard. He became a Christian and suffered martyrdom upon orders of the emperor.