The Life of Pope Sylvester  

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At the same time the blessed Silvester established his parish church1 in the city of Rome in the Third District, near the baths of Domitian, which are called also the baths of Trajan; the parish church of Silvester, to which Constantine Augustus gave:
a silver paten, weighing 20 lbs.;
a silver pitcher, weighing 10 lbs.;
a silver goblets, weighing each 8 lbs.;
10 silver chandeliers, weighing each 5 lbs.;
16 bronze candelabra, weighing each 40 lbs.;
5 silver chalices for service, weighing each 2 lbs.;
the Percilian estate in the Sabine region, yielding 50 sol.;
the Barbatian estate in the region of Ferens2, yielding 35 and one third sol.;
the Statian estate in the region of Tribula3, yielding 66 and one third sol.;
the estate of Beruclae in the region of Cora, yielding 40 sol.;
the Sulpician estate in the region of Cora, yielding 70 sol.;
the estate of Taurus in the region of Beii4, yielding 42 sol.;
the Sentian estate in the region of Tibur5, yielding 30 sol.;
the Ceian estate in the region of Penestre6, yielding 50 sol.;
the estate of Termulae in the region of Penestre, yielding 35 sol.;
the property of Cylon in the region of Penestre, yielding 59 sol.

He offered also all that was requisite to the parish church of Equitius.

This Silvester held 6 ordinations in the month of December, 42 Priests, 26 deacons, 65 bishops in divers places.

He was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla7 on the Via Salaria, three miles from the city of Rome, December 31. He verily died catholic and a confessor8.

And the bishopric was empty 15 days.

1. The church already described. The Third District may be either the civil or ecclesiastical division, for the Third Region of Augustus comprehended this neighborhood. The list of precious vessels and lamps is not dissimilar to the inventory already given for this church, although the latter is longer. The two lists of lands of the church are, however, quite different, as may be seen by comparison. The author may have made two sets of extracts from the same document or may have drawn from two different documents of different dates. Duchesne, op. cit., p. 200, n. 119.
2. Ferentinum, now Ferentino, a small town on the Via Latina.
3. Trebula was the name of three Italian towns, one in Campania, now Maddaloni, the others in Sabinum, one of which is now Monte Leone, the last has disappeared. Duchesne is of the opinion that the second of the three is meant here. op. cit., p. 200, n. 122.
4. Veii.
5. The modern Tivoli.
6. Praeneste, now Palestrina.
7. The little church which stood over the catacomb of Priscilla was known as the church of St. Sylvester in the early Roman topographies drawn up for the guidance of pilgrims. The itinerary ascribed to William of Malmesbury mentions Sylvester's marble tomb. The site is vacant and grassgrown today. Duchesne, op. cit., p. 200, n. 123.
8. These words testify to the unusual veneration for the memory of Pope Sylvester. In 1632 a silver "corona" of ancient workmanship, bearing a votive inscription to "the holy Silvester," was found in a garden adjacent to Sylvester's parish church, San Martino ai Monti. Duchesne thinks that the offering may have dated from the latter half of the fifth century. The spurious lives of the pope, with their miracles and marvels, may have increased popular reverence but the feeling seems to have existed before the legends. Unfortunately, in spite of the length and importance of Sylvester's pontificate, there are no authentic documents left to furnish us with an idea of the part he actually played in the stirring events of his day or with more than the vaguest notion of the situation at Rome under Constantine. Duchesne, op. cit., p. 201, n. 125.




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