Congratulations to Sylvester because on this last day of the year, December 31, we celebrate Saint Sylvester. Born in 280, Sylvester is the son of Rufinus, priest and Justa, Roman citizens. His mother entrusted his education to a priest named Cyrinus.

There is no doubt about the good behaviour of Sylvester during the persecution of Diocletian. At the age when he can dispose of his property, he took pleasure in welcoming Christian travellers passed through Roma. He invited them to his house, washed their feet, and offer them the charity in the name of Jesus.  

One day, a Christian named Timothy arrived from Antioch. No one dared to receive him but Sylvester considered it as honour so he receives him under his roof. For a year timothy preached Jesus-Christ with great zeal. A lot has been converted. Worry, Tarcinius, the prefect of the city ordered the decapitation of Timothy. It has been Sylvester with the help of Pope Mechiades who took care of his remains and buried him by the tomb of Saint Paul.

Tarcinius had Sylvester arrested and accused him of having sold the property of Timothy. But Sylvester answered: " He left to me only the heritage of his faith and courage.” They obliged Sylvester to deny his faith but he did not comply in any way, we threatened him with death and imprisoned him. Once, he is in his cell, Sylvester said to his persecutor: " This does not matter to me because this night, it is you who is going to tell this to God". In the evening, Tarcinius died strangling himself wit a fish bone. Fearing heavenly justice, the jailers freed Sylvester. 

It was with this nobility of soul that Sylvester who encouraged the pope to ordain him to the priesthood and shortly after he succeeded the pope Mechiades. His pontificate which lasted 22 years had been marked by the First Council of Nicea and the Baptism of the emperor Constantin nicknamed the Great who reigned from 306 to 307. This Emperor, who was at the beginning a pagan, persecuted the Christians. He had leprosy all over his body. One night, in bright light, Saint Peter and Saint Paul appeared to him and commanded him to call for Pope Sylvester, who would cure him by giving him Baptism. Sylvester taught him and baptised him. Since then,  The announce of the gospel of Christ had been free in the whole extent of Constantine's empire.

The life of Sylvester was marked by the special care he gave to the poor, he also promulgated a number of rules, such as:

  • The wearing of "colobium", a long sleeveless tunic, by the priests and deacons 
  • the substitution of the name of the pagan's divinity in the calendar by the Christian celebration;
  • The introduction of fast-day

 Pope Sylvester died on December 31, 335 and was buried in the Catacombe de Sainte Priscille sur la Via Silaria.

The name of Sylvester comes from the Latin "silvestris" which means "relating to the forest". The Sylvesters were in general solitary, they are strong and gifted with a certain charisma. Selfish and impatient, they undertake however with zeal and enthusiasm what they had to do.

Translated by Ramiarimalala Victoria 

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