Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Saint Sylvester. Pope And Confessor.

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Pope Saint Sylvester I.
Feast Day 31 December.


White Vestments.

File:Sylvester I and Constantine.jpg

English: Pope Saint Sylvester I and Emperor Constantine.
San Silvestro Chapel at Santi Quattro Coronati, Rome, Italy.
עברית: דוד שי מאשדוד הוא היה הסילבסטר הוא היה מרביץ ליהודים ושובר להם את הרגליים
Date: 1247.
Author: Unknown Mediaeval artist in Rome, Italy.
(Wikimedia Commons)

If 31 December falls on a Sunday, the Mass of the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity of Our Lord is said, with a Commemoration of Saint Sylvester.

The Church reproduces in her Liturgy all phases of the life of her Divine Founder.

When only just born, the Infant God is persecuted by Herod: The Church, still in her cradle, sends to Heaven her first Martyr in the person of the Deacon, Stephen, and her first twenty-five Popes die Martyrs.

File:Celio - ss Quattro - oratorio s Silvestro 1070924.JPG

English: The Oratory of Saint Sylvester,
at the Basilica Santi Quattro Coronati, Rome, Italy.
Italiano: Roma, Santi Quattro Coronati: oratorio di S. Silvestro.
Photo: 21 May 2008.
Source: Own work.
Author: Lalupa.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Returned from Egypt, Jesus grows in age and wisdom at Nazareth, where the years pass in quietness: Under the Pontificate of Sylvester I (314 A.D. - 345 A.D.), the Church, after three hundred years of persecution, begins to enjoy liberty, which is her greatest boon.

She spreads in the Roman Empire, and the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) establishes triumphantly, against Arius, the Doctrine of the Divinity of the Saviour, of which the Liturgy of the Season of Christmas is full.

At the First Council of Nicea, the Breviary tells us, the Catholic Faith on the subject of the Divinity of Christ was explained by three hundred and eighteen Bishops; Arius and his sect being condemned. At the request of the Fathers, Sylvester confirmed again this Council in a Synod held at Rome, and in which Arius was condemned again.

File:Celio - ss Quattro - oratorio s Silvestro 1070928.JPG

English: Christ in Glory fresco 
in the Oratory of Saint Sylvester,
at the Basilica Santi Quattro Coronati, Rome, Italy.
Italiano: Roma, Santi Quattro Coronati: oratorio di S. Silvestro - 
storie di Costantino e Silvestro (XIII sec.).
Photo: 21 May 2008.
Source: Own work.
Author: Lalupa.
(Wikimedia Commons)

According to the legend of the Breviary, Sylvester decreed also that the Bishop alone should consecrate the Chrism; that in the administration of Baptism, the Priest should anoint with the Holy Oils the crown of the head of the person being Baptised; that Deacons should wear the Dalmatic and have a Maniple of linen on the left arm; and, finally, that the Sacrifice of the Mass should be offered up upon an Altar Cloth of linen.

He fixed also a certain period for those who should receive Holy Orders, during which they must exercise successively their Order in the Church, before being raised to a higher degree.

Sylvester ruled the Church twenty-one and a half years. He was buried in the Cemetery of Priscilla on the Salarian Way.

Every Parish Priest celebrates Mass for the people of his Parish.

File:Costantino sogna pietro e paolo.jpg

English: Emperor Constantine, suffering from leprosy, 
dreams of Saints Peter and Paul. 
Fresco in the Oratory of Saint Sylvester, 
at the Basilica Santi Quattro Coronati, Rome, Italy.
Italiano: Roma, Santi Quattro Coronati, oratorio di S. Silvestro: 
Costantino, colpito da lebbra, sogna i santi Pietro e Paolo.
Photo: 21 May 2008.
Source: Own work.
Author: Lalupa.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The following Text is from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia.

Pope Sylvester I (died 31 December 335 A.D.), whose name is also spelled "Silvester", was the Head of the Catholic Church from 31 January 314 A.D., to his death in 335 A.D. He succeeded Pope Miltiades. He filled the See of Rome at an important era in the history of the Catholic Church, yet very little is known of him.

The accounts of his Papacy, preserved in the Liber Pontificalis (7th- or 8th-Century), contain little more than a record of the gifts said to have been conferred on the Church by Constantine I, but it does say that he was the son of a Roman, named Rufinus.

During his Pontificate were built the great Churches founded at Rome by Constantine, e.g. the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Saint Peter's Basilica, and several Cemeterial Churches over the graves of Martyrs.

Sylvester did not attend the First Council of Nicaea, in 325 A.D., but he was represented by two Legates, Vitus and Vincentius, and he approved the Council's decision.


  1. I'd be interested to know what your thoughts are on this post of mine:

  2. Dear Patricius.

    As always, good to hear from you and you always have thought-provoking ideas to contribute.

    Thank you for pointing me towards your Post, which I found, well, thought-provoking.

    An interesting read.

    I would love to be at the Pearly Gates when you discourse with Saint Peter on the veracity, or otherwise, of some of the things you dislike or wish to abolish.

    May I also congratulate you on the colour-scheme for your Blog "Liturgiae Causa" ?

    in Domino


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