Friday, January 20, 2017

The Feast Of Fabian

No, not the singer of "Like A Tiger" and star of "Ride The Wild Surf". This is the Fabian who was Bishop of Rome in the mid-Third Century.

"Upon the death of Roman Bishop Antherus in 236, a council was convened in Rome to elect his successor. In the crowd was Fabian, a layperson. According to the historian Eusebius, a dove flew into the building and landed on Fabian's head. The people immediately interpreted this to be an omen, and unanimously acclaimed Fabian as Rome's new bishop.

He turned out to be an excellent leader. He organized the parochial structure of the Church that is still in use, developed the rites of veneration for the martyrs buried in the catacombs, and appointed fourteen scholars to record the lives of the martyrs so that they would not be forgotten in future years.

In 239, the Emperor Decius instituted a persecution of Christians. This was the first persecution to be waged throughout the entire Empire, rather than just a local phenomenon. Fabian was captured and brutally executed. The courage with which he went to his death was an inspiration to thousands who followed him in martyrdom. His broken tombstone in Rome still exists, with three words on it are still legible; 'Fabian ... bishop ... martyr.'"

O God, in your providence you singled out the holy martyr Fabian as worthy to be chief pastor of your people, and guided him so to strengthen your Church that it stood fast in the day of persecution: Grant that those whom you call to any ministry in the Church may be obedient to your call in all humility, and be enabled to carry out their tasks with diligence and faithfulness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.