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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(pope) is recorded as the 19th bishop of Rome, from 236 to 250, but there is some dispute both as to his name and as to the time of his episcopate. In the Alexandrian Chronicle he is called Flavianus. Eusebius gives an account of certain wonders that happened on his election to the bishopric. "The faithful had assembled in a church for the purpose of the election, and several persons of consideration were proposed, without any thought of Fabianus, though he was present. Of a sudden, a white dove descended from above and alighted on his head. Then the faithful, recalling to their recollection that the Holy Spirit had manifested itself in a like form at the baptism of Jesus Christ, exclaimed that God had exhibited to them his will. Immediately Fabianus was proclaimed pope, and conducted to the episcopal see without other formality than the imposition of hands",(Hist. Ecclesiastes 6:29). From this fable the court of Rome derives support for its theory that the Holy Ghost always directs in the election of a pope. Cardinal Cusa says that "what happened in the election of Fabianus happens to every pope, though we do not see it with our natural eyes. In vain, electors, are all your intrigues; the person on whose head the heavenly dove perches will, in spite of them, be chosen" (De Meth. Consistorii, 7:85). We have had strange illustrations of this in Borgia and others. Fabianus suffered martyrdom in Decius' persecution, A.D. 250. See Acta Sanctorum, January 20; Tillemont, Memoires, 3:364; A. Butler, Lives of Saints, January 20; Bower, History of the Popes (London, 1750), 1:47.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Fabianus'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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