December 31: saint of the day, name day

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The Saint of the day December 31 is San Silvestro Papa, which name day is celebrated and other saints who are celebrated on this date.


New Year's Eve Pope

The date is not known but, according to the "Liber Pontificalis" Silvestro was the son of the Roman Rufino while, according to the legendary "Vita beati Sylvestri", the mother was called Giusta.

It must be considered that in 313, when the African Milziade was Pope, the emperors Constantine and Flavio Galerio Valerio Liciniano, called Licinio, granted full freedom of worship to Christians, contributing to a large extent to the epochal change that affected the public position of the Church with the transition from paganism to Christianity for most of the population.


When Pope Miltiades died in 314, Silvestro was consecrated as his successor, keeping this position until 335, or for twenty one years.

According to what is told by ancient legends, Pope Sylvester had close relationships with the emperor Constantine, even if what was said is in contrast with the actual historical events.

Among the stories reported in all these legendary writings, concerning the era in which Sylvester lived, include the conversion and baptism of Constantine, the donation of the emperor to the pope, the rights guaranteed to him and the council of 275 bishops in Rome.


The legendary relationship of Sylvester with Constantine played an important role in the Middle Ages in demonstrating what the historical bases of the temporal power of the Church were.

In 325 Constantine convenes the first ecumenical council at Nicaea, where the creed is approved which, against the doctrines of Arius, reaffirms the divinity of Jesus Christ with the words "true God from true God, begotten not created, of the same substance as the Father" .

Silvestro I promoted the construction of the great Constantinian basilicas of Rome.


It seems that on the Pope's suggestion, Constantine founded the first basilica of San Pietro on the Vatican Hill, on top of a pre-existing temple dedicated to Apollo, burialing the body of the apostle Peter in a bronze sarcophagus.

Always thanks to the collaboration between Pope Silvestro and the imperative Constantine, the Basilica and the Lateran baptistery were erected near the former Imperial Palace, the basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, the Basilica of San Paolo outside the walls on the Via Ostiense, as well as many cemetery churches built over martyr tombs.

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Silvestro also made his contribution to the development of the liturgy and, during his pontificate, the first Roman martyrology was probably written.

He also created a "Schola cantorum" and built a cemetery church on the Via Salaria, near the catacombs of Priscilla, the ruins of which came to light in the late 1800s.

Pope Sylvester I was buried on 31 December 355 in the church he wanted at the catacombs of Priscilla.

On June 2, 761, Pope Paul I had it moved to the oratory of the church of San Silvestro in Capite and on July 17 of the same year he had it brought inside the church, where it was found during the restoration works in 1596.

The then Pope Clement VIII had it placed under the main altar.

Although there are many legends that speak of Sylvester I, it seems that this illustrious character has greatly affected his contemporaries, in fact, as soon as he died, he was immediately publicly honored with the definition of Confessor.

If we go into detail we can realize that he was among the first to receive this title, attributed from the fourth century onwards to those who, even without having suffered martyrdom, spent their life in penance sacrificing it to Christ.


Other saints and celebrations on December 31st

  • Blessed Great Dane of Solminihac
  • Bishop

  • San Barbaziano of Ravenna
  • Saint Catherine Labour√©
  • Santa Colomba di Sens
  • Virgin and martyr

  • Santa Donata and companions
  • Martyr in Rome

  • San Giovanni Francesco Regis
  • San Mario of Lausanne
  • Bishop

  • Saint Melania the Younger
  • Penitent

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