|Diocese||Diocese of Rome|
|Papacy began||31 January 314|
|Papacy ended||31 December 335|
|Born||Sant'Angelo a Scala, Avellino|
|Died||December 31, 335 (aged ??)|
|Other popes named Sylvester|
Sylvester I (also Silvester, died 31 December 335) was the bishop of Rome from 314 until his death. He is regarded as the 33rd Pope of the Catholic Church.He filled the see of Rome at an important era in the history of the Western Church, yet very little is known of him. The accounts of his pontificate preserved in the seventh- or eighth-century Liber Pontificalis contain little more than a record of the gifts said to have been conferred on the church by Constantine I, although it does say that he was the son of a Roman named Rufinus. His feast is celebrated as Saint Sylvester's Day in Western Christianity on December 31, while Eastern Christianity commemorates it on January 2.
During his pontificate, there were great churches founded and built, e.g. the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Old St. Peter's Basilica and several cemeterial churches built over the graves of martyrs.
Sylvester did not attend the First Council of Nicaea in 325, where the Nicene Creed was formulated, but he was represented by two legates, Vitus and Vincentius, and he approved the council's decision.
One of the Symmachian forgeries, the Vita beati Silvestri (c. 501–508), which has been preserved in Greek and Syriac (and in Latin in the Constitutum Silvestri), is an apocryphal alleged account of a Roman council, including legends of Sylvester's close relationship with the first Christian emperor. These also appear in the Donation of Constantine .
Long after his death, the figure of Sylvester was embroidered upon in a fictional account of his relationship to Constantine, which seemed to successfully support the later Gelasian doctrine of papal supremacy, papal auctoritas (authority) guiding imperial potestas (power), the doctrine that is embodied in the forged Donation of Constantine of the eighth century. In the fiction, of which an early version is represented in the early sixth-century Symmachean forgeries emanating from the curia of Pope Symmachus (died 514), the Emperor Constantine was cured of leprosy by the virtue of the baptismal water administered by Sylvester.
The Emperor, abjectly grateful, not only confirmed the bishop of Rome as the primate above all other bishops, he resigned his imperial insignia and walked before Sylvester's horse holding the Pope's bridle as the papal groom. The Pope, in return, offered the crown of his own good will to Constantine, who abandoned Rome to the pope and took up residence in Constantinople. "The doctrine behind this charming story is a radical one," Norman F. Cantor observes: "The pope is supreme over all rulers, even the Roman emperor, who owes his crown to the pope and therefore may be deposed by papal decree". Such a useful legend quickly gained wide circulation; Gregory of Tours referred to this political legend in his history of the Franks, written in the 580s.
Pope Sylvester II, himself a close associate of Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, chose the name Sylvester in imitation of Sylvester I.
In the West, the liturgical feast of Saint Sylvester is on 31 December, the day of his burial in the Catacomb of Priscilla.This is the last day in the year and, accordingly, in German-speaking countries and in some others close to them, New Year's Eve is known as Silvester . In some other countries, too, the day is usually referred to as Saint Sylvester's Day or the Feast of Saint Sylvester. In São Paulo, Brazil, a long-distance running event called the Saint Silvester Road Race occurs every year on 31 December.
The Donation of Constantine is a document fabricated in the second half of the eighth century, purporting to be a record by the Emperor himself of his conversion, the profession of his new faith, and the privileges he conferred on Pope Sylvester I, his clergy, and their successors. According to it, Pope Sylvester was offered the imperial crown, which, however, he refused.
"Lu Santu Papa Silvestru", a story in Giuseppe Pitrè's collection of Sicilian fables, recounts the legend as follows: Constantine the king wants to take a second wife, and asks Sylvester. Sylvester denies him permission, calling on heaven as witness; Constantine threatens him, and Sylvester, rather than give in, escapes into the woods. Not long after, Constantine falls ill; when he is desperate of ever regaining his health he has a dream which commands him to send for Sylvester. He obeys, and Sylvester receives Constantine's messengers in his cave and swiftly baptizes them, whereafter (having shown them several miracles) he is led back to Constantine, whom he baptizes also, and cures. In this story, Constantine and his entourage are not pagans but Jews.
Another legend has Sylvester slaying a dragon. He is often depicted with the dying beast.
Antipope Felix, an archdeacon of Rome, was installed as Pope in AD 355 after the Emperor Constantius II banished the reigning Pope, Liberius, for refusing to subscribe to a sentence of condemnation against Saint Athanasius.
Constantine the Great, also known as Constantine I, was a Roman Emperor who ruled between AD 306 and 337. Born in Naissus, in Dacia Ripensis, the city now known as Niš, he was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman Army officer of Illyrian origins. His mother, Helena, was Greek. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in AD 293. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under Emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum after his father's death in AD 306. He emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by AD 324 .
Pope Martin I reigned from 21 July 649 to his death in 655. He succeeded Pope Theodore I on 5 July 649. He was the only pope during the Eastern Roman domination of the papacy whose election was not approved by a mandate from Constantinople. Martin I was exiled by Emperor Constans II and died at Cherson. He is considered a saint and martyr by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the Orthodox church he is known as St. Martin the Confessor, the Pope of Rome.
Pope Miltiades, also known as Melchiades the African, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 311 to his death in 314. It was during his pontificate that Emperor Constantine I issued the Edict of Milan (313), giving Christianity legal status within the Roman Empire. The Pope also received the palace of Empress Fausta where the Lateran Palace, the papal seat and residence of the papal administration, would be built. At the Lateran Council, during the schism with the Church of Carthage, Miltiades condemned the rebaptism of apostatised bishops and priests, teaching of Donatus Magnus.
Pope Siricius was Pope from December 384 to his death in 399. He was successor to Pope Damasus I and was himself succeeded by Pope Anastasius I.
Pope Sylvester II or Silvester II was Pope from 2 April 999 to his death in 1003. Originally known as Gerbert of Aurillac, he was a prolific scholar and teacher. He endorsed and promoted study of Arab and Greco-Roman arithmetic, mathematics, and astronomy, reintroducing to Europe the abacus and armillary sphere, which had been lost to Latin Europe since the end of the Greco-Roman era. He is said to be the first to introduce in Europe the decimal numeral system using Hindu-Arabic numerals. He was the first French Pope.
The 310s decade ran from January 1, 310, to December 31, 319.
The 330s decade ran from January 1, 330, to December 31, 339.
Year 335 (CCCXXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Constantius and Albinus. The denomination 335 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Pope Clement I, also known as Saint Clement of Rome, is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as Bishop of Rome, holding office from 88 to his death in 99. He is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church, one of the three chief ones together with Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch.
Pope Dionysius served as the Bishop of Rome or Pope from 22 July 259 to his death in 268. His task was to reorganize the Roman church, after the persecutions of the Emperor Valerian I and the edict of toleration by his successor Gallienus. He also helped rebuild the churches of Cappadocia, devastated by the marauding Goths.
Pope St. Mark was Pope of the Catholic Church from 18 January to 7 October 336.
The papal tiara is a crown that was worn by popes of the Catholic Church from as early as the 8th century to the mid-20th. It was last used by Pope Paul VI in 1963 and only at the beginning of his reign.
The Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in the Lateran – also known as the Papal Archbasilica of Saint John [in] Lateran, Saint John Lateran, or the Lateran Basilica – is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome in the city of Rome and serves as the seat of the Roman Pontiff.
The Donation of Constantine is a forged Roman imperial decree (Diplom) by which the 4th-century emperor Constantine the Great supposedly transferred authority over Rome and the western part of the Roman Empire to the Pope. Composed probably in the 8th century, it was used, especially in the 13th century, in support of claims of political authority by the papacy. Lorenzo Valla, an Italian Catholic priest and Renaissance humanist, is credited with first exposing the forgery with solid philological arguments in 1439–1440, although the document's authenticity had been repeatedly contested since 1001.
The history of the papacy, the office held by the pope as head of the Catholic Church, according to Catholic doctrine, spans from the time of Peter to the present day.
Saint Sylvester's Day, also known as Silvester or the Feast of Saint Sylvester, is the day of the feast of Pope Sylvester I, a saint who served as Pope of the Western Church from 314 to 335. Medieval legend made him responsible for the conversion of emperor Constantine. Among the Western Christian Churches, the feast day is held on the anniversary of Saint Sylvester's death, 31 December, a date that, since the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, has coincided with New Year's Eve. For these Christian denominations, Saint Silvester's Day liturgically marks the seventh day of Christmastide. Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate Sylvester's feast on a different day from the Western Churches, i.e. on 2 January. Saint Sylvester's Day celebrations are marked by church attendance at Midnight Mass or a Watchnight service, as well as fireworks, partying, and feasting.
The Tusculan Papacy was a period of papal history from 1012 to 1048 where three successive Counts of Tusculum installed themselves as pope.
Constantine the Great's (272–337) relationship with the four Bishops of Rome during his reign is an important component of the history of the Papacy, and more generally the history of the Catholic Church.
December 30 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - January 1
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