Sylvester I, pope - December 31st
St Sylvester I (d. 335) (Relics: Rome, Italy)
First Class Relics
San Silvestro in Capite
(Saint Sylvester in Capite)
Piazza San Silvestro
*This church is near the Spanish Steps.
*The remains of St Sylvester I rest in the confessio below the main altar. They were transferred to this church in the 8th century from the Catacombs of Priscilla. On his feast day a relic of his skull is brought out for veneration.
*Depicted within the apse vault above the main altar is the popular legend of St Sylvester I baptizing Constantine.
*Within the chapel to the left of the main entrance is a relic of the skull of St John the Baptist. The authenticity is uncertain since this same relic is said to be located at a number of other places throughout the world including the Cathedral of Amiens in France, the Residenz Museum in Munich, Germany, and the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria.
Churches of Honor in Rome
San Silvestro al Quirinale
(Saint Sylvester at the Quirinale)
Via Ventiquattro (XXIV) Maggio 10
*This church is east of Piazza Venezia. It is not open often.
*The first chapel on the right side of the nave is dedicated to St Sylvester I. Three paintings within this chapel depict alleged events from his life.
San Martino ai Monti (Saint Martin at the Hills)
Viale Monte Oppio 28
*This church is south of the Basilica of St Mary Major.
*A tradition claims that St Sylvester I and many other bishops met here to prepare for the Council of Nicaea. They then reconvened at this same church after the Council to announce the newly formulated Nicene Creed. Constantine was in attendance for this. The large painting on the left side of the nave created in 1640 recalls one of these meetings. This tradition, however, is often tied to the ‘Symmachian Forgeries’ thus throwing some doubt on its credibility. Nevertheless, it does seem probable that some agreement was achieved between Constantine and St Sylvester I that allowed for the success of the Council of Nicaea.
*The greater part of the remains of St Martin I (d. 655) were transferred from Crimea to this church in Rome. They now rest in the confessio below the main altar. This confessio also houses the relics of many other saints taken from the Catacombs of Priscilla.
Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
(Holy Cross In Jerusalem)
Piazza di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme 12
*This church is east of the Basilica of St John Lateran.
*A painting above the third altar on the left side of the nave depicts St Sylvester I revealing to Constantine an image of Saints Peter and Paul.
*Also a chapel accessible by the staircase on the left side of the sanctuary preserves a number of relics from Christ’s Passion.