Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Te Deum & Pope Sylvester I

Source: Apostleship of Prayer

Today marks the Feast of Pope Sylvester I.

Musings from a Catholic Bookstore explains his vital role in church history:

He was responsible for the building of the original Basilica of St. Peter’s and St. John Lateran and may also have been responsible for creating the first martyrology.

In 325 the General Council of Nicea was convened to deal with the Arian Heresy. The Arians professed that Christ was not truly God and this heresy became so prevalent that for a time most of the Christian world accepted the teachings. The Pope was not able to attend the council because of his age but sent three priests, Osius, Vito and Vincentius to act in his stead. Showing the importance of the pope’s representatives, these three priests are listed ahead of the Eastern patriarchs in the list of those attending the council. The council condemned Arianism and drew up the Nicene Creed which is recited at every Mass.

A Catholic View focuses on his legendary deeds:

Numerous legends dramatize his life and work, e.g., how he freed Constantine from leprosy by baptism; how he killed a ferocious dragon that was contaminating the air with his poisonous breath. Such legends were meant to portray the effects of baptism and Christianity's triumph over idolatry. For a long time the feast of St. Sylvester was a holy day of obligation.

Lastly, by serendipity I came across this post corresponding to the official online newspaper of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, the Catholic Anchor. It was written by Patricia Coll Freeman, dealt with the 18 days of Christmas and was cross posted on Catholic Online.

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