31 December 2009
Sylvester I, Pope
Not much is known of Pope Sylvester I. He was ordained as Bishop of Rome on 31 January 314 and held the see for nearly 21 years, dying on 31 December 335. From the Liber pontificalis we know that the Saint's father was a Roman named Rufinus. However, Pope Saint Sylvester I's ponitificate occurred during an important period--during the reign of the first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great.
While not present at the First Council of Nicea, Pope Sylvester I was represented by two legates and approved the Council's decisions. During the pontiifcate of Pope Sylvester I, the great Constantine basilicas in Rome were built, including the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, and Saint Peter's Basilica.
While there are legends about Pope Sylvester I's healing and then baptizing the Emperor Constantine, these accounts were written well after his pontificate and are entirely legend.
After his death, the body of Pope Saint Sylvester I was buried in the Catacomb of Priscilla on the Salarian Way. He was succeeded by Pope Saint Mark.
Pope Saint Sylvester I, pray for us!
IMAGE: Constitutum Constantini from Wikimedia Commons.