(Died 250 AD)
In the year 236, Fabian, a layman, came to Rome, perhaps out of curiosity, to witness the choosing of a new Pope. Suddenly during the discussion, a dove descended from the ceiling.
The story, according to Eusebius, says the dove “settled on (Fabian’s) head as clear imitation of the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove upon the Savior.” Perhaps inspired by the Holy Spirit, everyone suddenly proclaimed Fabian as “worthy” to be pope and the unimportant layperson was elected.
Fabian was able to build up the structure of the church of Rome, appointing seven deacons and helping to collect the acts of the martyrs. However, the political powers of the time were not happy to see the Christians growing and thriving. There ensued many incidents of pagans attacking Christians. The new emperor, Decius, ordered all Christians to deny Christ by offering incense to idols or through some other pagan ritual.
In its few years of peace under Fabian, the Church had grown soft. Many didn’t have the courage to stand up to martyrdom. But Fabian, singled out by symbol of peace, stood as a courageous example for everyone in his flock. He died a martyr in 250 and is buried in the Cemetery of Calixtus that he helped rebuild and beautify. A stone slab with his name can still be found there.
Adapted by A. J. Valentini from: Online, C. (n.d.-a). St. Fabian – Sts. & Angels. Catholic Online. Retrieved Jan. 16, 2021, from https://www.catholic.org/St.s/St..php?St._id=47