[Back] [Blueprint] [Next]

From The Lives of the Popes from the Time of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII. Written Originally in Latin by B. Platina, Native of Cremona, and translated into English (from an anonymous translation, first printed in 1685 by Sir Paul Rycaut), Edited by William Benham, Volume I, London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, [1888, undated in text]; pp. 47-48.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.

—————0 —————


A.D. 236-249.

FABIANUS, a Roman, the son of Fabius, continued from the reign of Gordianus and Philip to that of the Emperor Decius. Gordianus getting the empire, and having given a mighty defeat to the Parthians, in his return home to triumph was slain by the two Philips. His chief commendation was, that he is reported to have had sixty-two thousand books in his Library.

Philip, A.U.C. 997, having brought home his army out of Syria into Italy, reigned, together with his son, whom he joined to him as a partner in the empire, five years. He was the first Christian emperor, and it is said of him that he never presumed to go to the holy mysteries before he had confessed.1 After the third year of his reign, the thousandth year from the building of the city being completed, he caused to be celebrated the secular games, which were wont to be repeated every hundredth year. They were first instituted by Valerius Poplicola after the expulsion of the kings, and had their name from the Latin word seculum, which signifies the space of an hundred years. But by the fraud of Decius, both the Philips were slain: the father at Verona, the son at Rome.

Fabianus distributed the several regions of the city among the seven deacons, by whom the Acts of the Martyrs written by the notaries were to be collected and digested, for the example of others who professed the faith of Christ. He also built monuments in the cemeteries for the honour of the martyrs. Further, he ordained, that every year at some sacrament the chrism or holy oil should be new consecrated, and the old burnt in the church. In his time sprang up the Novatian heresy. For Novatianus, a presbyter of the city of Rome, out of an eager desire of being bishop, put all things into a great disorder, that the pontificate might not come into the hands of Cornelius, who was successor to Fabianus. Having separated himself from the Church, he gave to himself and his followers the denomination of the Pure; and denied that apostates, though truly penitent, ought to be received 48 into the church. Upon this occasion a Council of sixty bishops, as many presbyters, and several deacons, was held at Rome, in which the opinion of Novatianus was condemned as false, for that according to the example of our Saviour, pardon is to be denied to no man that repents. At the same time Origen opposed the heretical doctrine of certain persons, who affirmed that the souls of men died with their bodies, and were both together to be raised again at the resurrection; as also that of the Helchesaites, who altogether rejected the Apostle St Paul, and asserted, that though a man in his torments should outwardly deny Christ, yet he might be free from guilt, provided his heart was upright. The same author wrote against Celsus an Epicurean, who opposed the Christians, and sent letters concerning religion to the Emperor Philip and his wife Severa, and wrote also many things concerning the order of faith to Fabianus. Alexander, Bishop of Cappadocia, having, from a desire to see the holy places, made a journey to Jerusalem, was there compelled by Narcissus, bishop of that city, and now grown old, to be his assistant in the administration of that bishopric. But the persecution under Decius growing hot, at the same that Babylas suffered martyrdom at Antioch, he being carried to Cæsarea, was there put to death for the faith of Christ. As for Fabianus (concerning whom it is commonly believed, that, when inquiry was made for a successor to Anterus, a dove lighted upon his head in the same shape with that which descended upon the head of Jesus at Jordan) he received a crown of martyrdom, after that at five ordinations, which he held in the month of December, he had ordained twenty-two presbyters, seven deacons, eleven bishops, and was interred in the cemetery of Calistus in the Via Appia, Jan. the 19th. He was in the chair thirteen years, eleven months, eleven days, and by his death the see was vacant six days.


 1  It is very unlikely that Philip was a Christian. See Smith’s Dict. Of Christian Biography s.v.Philip.” Platina has quite mistaken the story about the Confession. There was a legend that he was refused the communion on one occasion until he had made amends for a specific crime, — ED.

——————————0 ——————————

Previous Pope:  20. St. Anterus. 21. St. Fabianus. Next Pope: 21. St. Cornelius.

——————————0 ——————————

[Back] [Blueprint] [Next]