Sylvester, 31 December
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Sylvester, Bishop of Rome

Sylvester (or Silvester) was Bishop of Rome from 314 to 335 -- that is, from just after the Emperor Constantine's Edict legalizing Christianity to just before the death of Constantine. He was represented by delegates at the regional Council of Arles in 314 (called in an attempt to heal the Donatist schism) and at the ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325 (called to decide the Arian question). Constantine gave him the Lateran Palace, which became his cathedral. Little else is known of him. There are later stories of his dealings with Constantine, but these are totally unhistorical. We remember him chiefly as a representative of Christian leaders faced with the problem of how the Church ought to relate to a surrounding society at least superficially friendly to it.

written by James Kiefer


O God, our Heavenly Father, who raised up your faithful servant Sylvester to be a bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock: Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit, that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.