Pope Sylvester I
Pope Sylvester I
    Pope St. Sylvester I (314-335)
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Pope St. Sylvester I (314-335)
    Date of birth unknown; d. 31 December, 335. According to the "Liber pontificalis" (ed. Duchesne, I, 170) he was the son of a Roman named Rufinus; the legendary "Vita beati Sylvestri" calls his mother Justa. After the death of Miltiades (Melchiades), Sylvester was made Bishop of Rome and occupied this position twenty-one years. This was the era of Constantine the Great, when the public position of the Church so greatly improved, a change which must certainly have been very noticeable at Rome; it is consequently to be regretted that there is so little authoritative information concerning Sylvester's pontificate. At an early date legend brings him into close relationship wtih the first Christian emperor, but in a way that is contrary to historical fact. These legends were introduced especially into the "Vita beati Sylvestri" (Duchesne, loc. cit., Introd., cix sq.) which appeared in the East and has been preserved in Greek, Syriac, and Latin in the "Constitutum Sylvestri"–an apocryphal account of an alleged Roman council which belongs to the Symmachian forgeries and appeared between 501 and 508, and also in the "Donatio Constantini". The accounts given in all these writings concerning the persecution of Sylvester, the healing and baptism of Constantine, the emperor's gift to the pope, the rights granted to the latter, and the council of 275 bishops at Rome, are entirely legendary. The pope, however, took part in the negotiations concerning Arianism and the Council of Nicæa, and the expression ‘omooúsion was probably agreed upon with him before the council. The pontiff also sent legates to the first œcumenical council. Still it is not certain whether Constantine had arranged beforehand with Sylvester concerning the actual convening of the council, nor whether there was an express papal confirmation of the decrees beyond the signatures of the papal legates (cf. Funk in "Kirchengesch. Abhandlungen und Untersuchungen", I, 95, 501 sq.).
    During Sylvester's pontificate were built the great churches founded at Rome by Constantine, e.g. the basilica and baptistery of the Lateran near the former imperial palace where the pope lived, the basilica of the Sessorian palace (Santa Croce), the Church of St. Peter in the Vatican, and several cemeterial churches over the graves of martyrs. No doubt the pope helped towards the construction of these churches. Sylvester's memory is especially connected with the tiitular Church of Equitius, which takes its name from a Roman presbyter who is said to have erected this church on his property. It was situated near the thermæ of Diocletian, and still exists. Parts of the present building may date from the fourth century. No doubt the pope contributed to the development of the liturgy of the Church at Rome. During his reign, moreover, the first martyrology of Roman martyrs was probably drawn up. Sylvester is connected also with the establishment of the Roman school of singing. on the Via Salaria he built a cemeterial church over the Catacomb of Priscilla, the ruins of which have lately been brought to light. In this church he was buried. His feast is given under 31 December in the "Depositio episcoporum", or list of the burial days of the Roman bishops, which was compiled barely a year after his death; the same date is given in the "Calendar" of Philocalus. This day, therefore, is doubtless the day of his burial. For his possible relations with Armenia, see GREGORY THE ILLUMINATOR.
    Liber pontificalis, ed. DUCHESNE, I, 170-201; introduction, cix sq.; JAFFE, Regesta rom. pont., 2nd ed., I, 28-30; Vita beati Sylvestri in LAND, Anecdota syriaca, III, 46 sq. and in SURIUS, Vita sanct., VI, 1173 sq.; LANGEN, Gesch. der römischen Kirche, I, 395 sqq.; DÖLLINGER, Papstfabeln (2nd ed., 1890), 61 sqq.; MARUCCHI, La basilica papale del cimitero di Priscilla (Rome, 1908).
    J.P. KIRSCH
    Transcribed by WGKofron In memory of Fr. John Hilkert, Akron, Ohio. Fidelis servus et prudens, quem constituit Dominus super familiam suam.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pope Sylvester I — Infobox Pope English name=Sylvester I Sylvester I and the Emperor Constantine birth name=Sylvester term start=31 January 314 term end=31 December 335 predecessor=Miltiades successor=Mark birth date=??? birthplace=Sant Angelo a Scala, Avellino… …   Wikipedia

  • Pope Clement I — Saint Clement I Papacy began 92 AD Papacy ended 99 AD Predecessor Anacletus …   Wikipedia

  • Pope Gregory I — Saint Gregory redirects here. For other uses, see Saint Gregory (disambiguation). Pope Gregory I Papacy began 3 September 590 Papacy ended 12 March 604 …   Wikipedia

  • Pope Damasus I — Damasus I Papacy began 366 Papacy ended 384 Predecessor Liberius …   Wikipedia

  • Pope Marinus I — Martin II redirects here. For Martin II, king of Sicily, see Martin of Aragon. Marinus I Papacy began December 16, 882 Papacy ended May 15, 884 Predecessor …   Wikipedia

  • Pope Marcellus I — Saint Marcellus I Papacy began May 308 Papacy ended 309 Predecessor Marcellinus Successor …   Wikipedia

  • Pope Adeodatus I — Adeodatus I Papacy began November 13, 615 Papacy ended November 8, 618 Predecessor Boniface IV Successor …   Wikipedia

  • Pope Nicholas I — Saint Nicholas I Papacy began April 24, 858 Papacy ended November 13, 867 Predecessor Benedict III Successor Adrian II Personal …   Wikipedia

  • Pope Sylvester — Pope Sylvester, or Silvester may refer to: * Pope Sylvester I (314–335) * Pope Sylvester II (999–1003) * Pope Sylvester III (1045) * Antipope Sylvester IV (1105 1111) …   Wikipedia

  • Pope Sylvester II — Infobox Pope English name=Sylvester II birth name=Gerbert d Aurillac term start=April 2, 999 term end=May 12, 1003 predecessor=Gregory V successor=John XVII birth date= ca. 950 birthplace=Auvergne, France dead=dead|death date=death… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”