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St. Sylvester I

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St. Sylvester I

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PATRON OF Order of Saint Sylvester

December 31 Saint of the Day

December 31 Saint of the Day

Podcast © Franciscan Media
Saint Sylvester lived during the time of Constantine when the Church was coming out of hiding and becoming the Church of the empire. Little is known about him, but much is presumed.

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LITURGY OF THE HOURS - 2ND READING

The peace of Constantine

From the Ecclesiastical History by Saint Eusebius of Caesarea, bishop
Glory to God the almighty, the King of the universe, for all his gifts, and gratitude to Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of our souls, through whom we pray that this peace may be preserved for us stable and unshaken for ever: a peace that will keep us safe from troubles outside as well as from all anxieties and disturbances of soul. When this bright and radiant day, darkened by no cloud, shone with heavenly light on the churches of Christ throughout the world, even those outside our community, though they had not the same cause for rejoicing, shared at least some of the blessings that God had bestowed on us. For us above all, who had placed our hopes in Christ, there was inexpressible joy and a heavenly happiness shone on every face. Every place that a short time before had been laid waste by the tyrants’ wickedness we now saw restored to life, recovering, as it seemed, from a long and deadly disease. Churches were once again rising from the ground high into the air, far surpassing in splendor and magnificence the ones that had previously been stormed and destroyed.
Then came the spectacle that we had prayed and hoped for: dedication festivals throughout the cities, and the consecration of the newly erected houses of worship. For this there were convocations of bishops, gatherings of pilgrims from far distant lands, warm and loving contact between the different communities, as the members of Christ’s body united in complete harmony. The mysterious prophecy: There came together bone to bone and joint to joint was thus fulfilled, as were all the other prophecies which had been unerringly proclaimed by type and symbol. All the members were filled with the grace of the one divine Spirit, all were of one mind, with the same enthusiasm for the faith, and on the lips of all there was one hymn of praise.
Yes, and our bishops performed religious rites with full ceremonial, priests officiated at the liturgy the solemn ritual of the Church, chanting psalms, proclaiming the other parts of our God-given Scriptures, and celebrating the divine mysteries. Baptism was also administered, the sacred symbol of our Savior’s passion.
Without the slightest distraction, men and women of all ages united in prayer and thanksgiving, their minds and hearts full of joy as they gave glory to God the giver of all good gifts.
 

St. Sylvester I

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Pope Sylvester I

The Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313, recognizing Christianity, ending persecutions, and tolerating all religions. Constantine considered it his duty to oversee the Church. He heard the complaints of bishops, summoned councils, settled Church disputes, and looked upon the pope sympathetically.
It took a wise man to work with such a powerful ruler. Pope Sylvester I held office during this crucial period. He had to keep the Church independent of the state and at the same time, keep peace with Emperor Constantine. Pope Sylvester faced the added challenge of advanced age, which prevented him from travel. To deal with the error of the Donatists, he had to send delegates to a council at Arles. Then, when Emperor Constantine called the first ecumenical council—the Council of Nicaea—in 325, the pope asked others to attend the council in his place. This council of bishops was to discuss the Arian heresy and correct the Arians for falsely teaching that Christ was not God. It was at this council that the Nicene Creed was formed.
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Excerpted from Christ Our Life, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio
SOURCE: LoyolaPress.com

Britannica Kids

According to subsequent legend, Sylvester converted and baptized Constantine, who was the first Roman emperor to become a Christian, and miraculously cured him of leprosy. In return the emperor allegedly gave him the Donatio Constantini (Donation of Constantine), a grant of spiritual supremacy over the Eastern patriarchates and over all matters of faith and worship as well as temporal dominion over Rome and the entire Western world. The Donation is now universally admitted to be an 8th-century forgery, but it was important in the development of the medieval theory of church and state.
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