Pope for a Day

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On the calendar of the Catholic Church, today is the feast of  Pope Silvester I, who reigned from 314 to 335.  21 years, 11 months, and 1 day: 8005 days in all. His papacy is  #8 on the list of the longest in history.

Little is known about Silvester I.  He built a few notable churches in the city of  Rome, like  St. Lawrence Without the Walls. Ventilation must have been high on his list of architectural values.

He was also pope during the Council of Nicaea, famous for  refuting the heresy of Arius, that Jesus was God, but  created by the Father.  It was a theological distinction that compelled  thousands to suffer unnatural deaths.

Silvester was also the pope when Constantine was the Roman Emperor. Constantine the Great was originally a pagan who persecuted Christians. He saw a sign from heaven and converted. From that day forward, Christians were free to practice their religion without reprisals, like being thrown into the lion's den. And free to persecute and exterminate pagans and heretics, and everyone else who disagreed with them.

Legend has it that Constantine was afflicted with leprosy and, as a cure,  his physician  prescribed a warm bath in children's blood.  Sanguinarius, may have been his name.  In the nick of time, St. Peter  and St. Paul appeared to Constantine in a vision and persuaded him that baptismal water might be more to his liking.  And who else to  baptize him, but our pope  of the day, Silvester I. In gratitude, Constantine is said to have given Silvester, Sicily, Sardenia, and all other islands in the world that started with the letter 's'.   

Silvester also is said to have  slain a dragon.  But there  is not a shred of  evidence that he first sought the help of a hobbit.

If you're ever in Rome you can visit the church  of San Martino ai Monti and  see the official  hat(mitre) he wore as pope---the oldest one still to survive.  Though I don't think he was wearing it when he done in that dragon.

Filed under: art, humor, Religion

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  • "From that day forward, Christians were free to practice their religion without reprisals, like being thrown into the lion's den. And free to persecute and exterminate pagans and heretics, and everyone else who disagreed with them."

    Which only proves that hypocrisy is about to celebrate its 1800th anniversary, although, like Bart Simpson (still 10 years old), is probably much older.

  • To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, 'It is unjust to charge Christians as hypocrites because they sin, like pagans and heretics. Hypocrites are those that believe they are free of it.'

  • In reply to 4zen:

    As Monte Python and Mel Brooks point out, as just one example "The Inquisition."

    Let any Pope disclaim and apologize for that.

    There are others that will point out The Crusades, or the Spanish conquests of the Americas.

    Just because some Christians believe in guilt is not sufficient.

  • The sir doth protest too much, me thinks. Christians also believe in love, so...I love you.
    :-j

  • In reply to 4zen:

    Unless you are a hot Italian woman with waist length dark hair, I'm not interested. Reportedly, Lauren Simonetti is married.

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