St. Sylvester’s Day


When I was Assist. Pastor at St. Martin’s in Winona MN. from 1967-1970, the New Year’s Eve service was named for St. Sylvester.  Who was St. Sylvester, I wondered.

In 313 Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan granting Christians the same rights as those practicing any other religion.

Sylvester became pope in 314.  He died on December 31, 335.

He used the freedom granted by Constantine to build several churches in Rome.  In 325, he sent two legates to the Church council in Nicaea.  Out of the Council of Nicaea we now have the Nicene Creed which emphasizes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Sylvester built the first church on the site we call the Vatican.  Much of the information about Sylvester is based on legend.  For instance, that he baptized Constantine and cured of leprosy.  Constantine removed the capital of the empire to the site of the present day Istanbul and named it after himself.  And Constantine wasn’t baptized until shortly before he died.  As far as we know Sylvester never left Rome and likely died before Constantine was baptized.

The Collect for the Day

Eternal God, we commit to Your mercy and forgiveness the year now ending and commend to Your blessing and love the times yet to come.  In the New Year, abide among us with Your Holy Spirit that we may always trust in the saving name of our Lord Jesus Christ, one God, now and forever.




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