January 20

St. Fabian

Saint Fabian

Early Life

The history of Saint Fabian before his papacy can not be told in detail.What is known about him is gleaned from the biography of the churchwhich was written by Eusebius of Caesarea.

Saint Fabian, also called Fabianus, was born in Rome to a man calledFabius. Nothing is known about his mother or the early years of hislife.

Saint Fabian was a layperson. After Pope Anteros died in 236, Fabiancame to the city of Rome to witness the election of a new Pope.

Although Saint Fabian was a Christian, he was not an important member ofthe congregation. This has become an important part of history as hisinclusion into the papacy came as a surprise.

During the Papal elections, the names of several distinguished membersof the church came up as a debate. While the choice for who wasdistinguished enough to hold the seat of the office was still beingconsidered, a dove descended upon Saint Fabian’s head.

The Church was shocked. This miraculous sign rang a bell to how Jesuswas shown to be God’s only son. To the people who assembled to welcomethe new pope, this was a spiritual sign.

Saint Fabian was immediately acclaimed pope.

Dedication and Devotion

Saint Fabian ruled the diocese for 14 years. During these years, theChurch experienced peace led by a lull in the troubles from religiousantagonists.

Saint Fabian was tolerated by the Emperors who had formally tormentedthe Christian world during his predecessors’ time. His influence andrespect helped him to command the return of the bodies of ChristianMartyrs from Sardinia.

The most notable story about Saint Fabian was how he led the baptism ofEmperor Philip and his son. Emperor Philip remained friendly withChristians and the Persecution of the Christian Church was put to sleep.

History reports that Saint Fabian sent out several Apostles to preachthe Gospel across the nation. Some of the places Saint Fabian made apoint to Christianise are Tours, Arlens, Paris, and Clermont.

In his era as Pope, Saint Fabian built up the structure of the Church ofRome. He divided Rome into seven districts and assigned seven deacons ofthe Church to each district. To every seven deacons, he appointed themsubdeacons to help in the building of the church.

These deacons he sent to retrieve the Acts of the Apostles or the Actaof the Martyrs. These documents were records of court proceedings of thetrials of the Martyrs.

A tradition also stands that Saint Fabian installed the four minorclerical orders namely the porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte. Thisis however debated by many as a tradition that has slowly evolved overthe years and growth of the Church.

Some parts of history state that Saint Fabian did extensive work on thecatacombs. In the catacombs, several notable individuals would beburied.


The peaceful reign of Saint Fabian went on until the death of EmperorPhilips. When Philips died, he was succeeded by Emperor Decius.

Emperor Decius commanded all Christians in Rome to offer rituals topagan idols and debt Christ or face persecution.

This command was unacceptable by many Christians. Emperor Decius singledout Saint Fabian as a means of cutting off the head of the Church inorder to wipe Christianity out.


Saint Fabian was Martyred on the 20th of January 250 A.D. He was one ofthe earliest Martyrs killed by Emperor Decius.

Several historical accounts think that Saint Fabian was not executed butinstead died in Prison. Many people however claim he was beheaded atEmperor Decius’ command.

Saint Fabian was initially buried in the Catacombs he helped to rebuildwith the inscription “Fabian, Bishop, Martyr”. His body was later movedto San Sebastiano Fuori le Mura.

Saint Fabian was canonized Pre-Congregation and is celebrated every yearon the day of his death.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Fabian

  1. Did you know that Rome adopted Saint Fabian as its Patron Saint?
  2. Did you know that The Coptic Orthodox Church teaches that Saint
    Fabian was martyred two times in one week?
  3. Did you know that Pope Fabian’s relics were transferred to the
    Church of Saint Sebastian in the early 1700s? They can still be
    found there today.
  4. Did you know that Saint Decius’ plan to end the Church by killing
    Saint Fabian failed? 65 years after Saint Fabian’s death,
    Constantine would legalize Christianity.
  5. Did you know that Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian are celebrated on
    the same day?

Prayer to St. Fabian

God our Father, glory of Your priests,may the prayers of Your martyr Fabianhelp us to share his faithand offer you loving service.We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son,who lives and reigns with Youin the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.