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Pope Fabian

Pope Fabian

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Pope Fabian was Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 from January 10, 236 to January 20, 250, succeeding Pope Anterus
Pope Anterus
Pope Saint Anterus was Pope from November 21, 235 to January 3, 236, and succeeded Pope Pontian, who had been deported from Rome along with the antipope Hippolytus to Sardinia....

.

Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea also called Eusebius Pamphili, was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon...

 (Church History
Church History (Eusebius)
The Church History of Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea was a 4th-century pioneer work giving a chronological account of the development of Early Christianity from the 1st century to the 4th century. It was written in Koine Greek, and survives also in Latin, Syriac and Armenian manuscripts...

, VI. 29) relates how the Christians
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, having assembled in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 to elect a new bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

, saw a dove alight upon the head of Fabian, a layman
Layman
A layperson or layman is a person who is not an expert in a given field of knowledge. The term originally meant a member of the laity, i.e. a non-clergymen, but over the centuries shifted in definition....

 and stranger to the city, who was thus marked out for this dignity and was at once proclaimed bishop by acclamation, although there were several famous men among the candidates for the vacant position.

He is said to have baptized Philip the Arab
Philip the Arab
Philip the Arab , also known as Philip or Philippus Arabs, was Roman Emperor from 244 to 249. He came from Syria, and rose to become a major figure in the Roman Empire. He achieved power after the death of Gordian III, quickly negotiating peace with the Sassanid Empire...

 and his son, to have done some building in the catacombs, to have improved the organization of the church in Rome, and to have appointed officials to register the deeds of the martyrs.

According to "later accounts, more or less trustworthy", Fabian sent out the "apostles to the Gauls" to Christianize Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 after the persecutions under Emperor Decius
Decius
Trajan Decius , was Roman Emperor from 249 to 251. In the last year of his reign, he co-ruled with his son Herennius Etruscus until they were both killed in the Battle of Abrittus.-Early life and rise to power:...

 had all but dissolved the small Christian communities. Fabian sent seven bishops from Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 to Gaul to preach the Gospel: Gatianus of Tours
Gatianus of Tours
Gatianus was the founding bishop of the see of Tours.-Life:According to Christian historians, during the consulship of the Emperor Decius and Vettus Gratus , Pope Fabian sent out seven bishops from Rome to Gaul to preach the Gospel: Gatianus to Tours, Trophimus to Arles, Paul to Narbonne,...

 to Tours
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

, Trophimus of Arles
Trophimus of Arles
According to Catholic lore, Saint Trophimus of Arles was the first bishop of Arles, in today's southern France.It was an early tradition of the Church that under the co-Emperors Decius and Herennius Etruscus , Pope Fabian sent out seven bishops from Rome to Gaul, to preach the Gospel: Gatien to...

 to Arles
Arles
Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence....

, Paul of Narbonne
Paul of Narbonne
Saint Paul of Narbonne was one of the "apostles to the Gauls" sent out during the consulate of Decius and Gratus to Christianize Gaul after the persecutions under Emperor Decius had all but dissolved the small Christian communities...

 to Narbonne
Narbonne
Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Saturnin
Saturnin
Saint Saturnin of Toulouse , with a feast day entered for November 29, was one of the "Apostles to the Gauls" sent out during the consulate of Decius and Gratus to Christianize Gaul after the persecutions under Emperor Decius had all but dissolved the small Christian communities...

 to Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

, Denis
Denis
Saint Denis is a Christian martyr and saint. In the third century, he was Bishop of Paris. He was martyred in connection with the Decian persecution of Christians, shortly after A.D. 250...

 to Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, Austromoine
Austromoine
Stremonius or Saint Austremonius or Saint Stramonius or Austromoine, the "apostle of Auvergne," was the first bishop of Clermont.-Legend:...

 to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Clermont
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Clermont
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Clermont, is an Archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic church, in France. The diocese comprises the department of Puy-de-Dôme, in the Region of Auvergne. Its see is Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral. For long a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Bourges, it...

, and Saint Martial
Saint Martial
Saint Martial was the first bishop of Limoges in today's France, according to a lost vita of Saturnin, first bishop of Toulouse, which Gregory of Tours quotes in his History of the Franks.-Life:...

 to Limoges
Limoges
Limoges |Limousin]] dialect of Occitan) is a city and commune, the capital of the Haute-Vienne department and the administrative capital of the Limousin région in west-central France....

. He also had the bodies of Hippolytus of Rome and Pope Pontian
Pope Pontian
Pope Pontian or Pontianus was Pope from 21 July 230 to 29 September 235.A little more is known of Pontian than his predecessors, apparently from a lost papal chronicle that was available to the compiler of the Liberian Catalogue of bishops of Rome, made in the fourth century.During his pontificate...

 brought from Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

 to Rome. He was martyred during the persecution of Christians under Emperor Decius and was one of the first to die on January 20, 250.

His deeds are thus described in the Liber Pontificalis
Liber Pontificalis
The Liber Pontificalis is a book of biographies of popes from Saint Peter until the 15th century. The original publication of the Liber Pontificalis stopped with Pope Adrian II or Pope Stephen V , but it was later supplemented in a different style until Pope Eugene IV and then Pope Pius II...

: Hic regiones dividit diaconibus et fecit vii subdiacones, qui vii notariis imminerent, Ut gestas martyrum integro fideliter colligerent, et multas fabricas per cymiteria fieri praecepit. ("He divided these regions into deaconships and made seven sub-deaconships which seven secretaries oversaw, so that they brought together the deeds of the martyrs faithfully made whole, and he brought forth many works in the cemeteries.")

Pope Fabian is also a very important figure with regard to the theology of Sacred Chrism
Chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

 in the West. The pontiff taught that Christ Himself taught His Apostles in what way they were to prepare the Holy Chrism: "Our predecessors received from the Apostles and delivered to us that our Saviour Jesus Christ, after having made the Last Supper with his Apostles and washed their feet, taught them how to prepare the Holy Chrism."

Although there is very little authentic information about Fabian, there is evidence that his episcopate was one of great importance in the history of the early church. He was highly esteemed by Cyprian
Cyprian
Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and an important Early Christian writer, many of whose Latin works are extant. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education...

; Novatian refers to his nobilissima memoriae, and he corresponded with Origen
Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

. One authority refers to him as Flavian.

Fabian's feast day is kept on January 20.

Fabian was buried in the catacomb of Callixtus
Catacomb of Callixtus
The Catacomb of Callixtus was one of the Catacombs of Rome on the Appian Way, most notable for containing the Crypt of the Popes , which contained the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries...

. The Greek inscription on his tomb has survived. His remains were later interred at San Sebastiano fuori le mura
San Sebastiano fuori le mura
San Sebastiano fuori le mura , or San Sebastiano ad Catacumbas , is a basilica in Rome, central Italy...

 by Pope Clement XI
Pope Clement XI
Pope Clement XI , born Giovanni Francesco Albani, was Pope from 1700 until his death in 1721.-Early life:...

where the Albani Chapel is dedicated in his honour.