A Garner of Saints – Saint Silvester, the Pope

Saint Silvester, the PopeArticle

The son of Cyrinus a priest, and he practised hospitality with great zeal. One day he entertained Timothy a Christian from Antioch, who afterwards suffered martyrdom. The governor Tarquinius interrogated Silvester concerning the riches of his guest, and when he replied that Timothy had possessed none, the governor cast him into prison. The next night Tarquinius was choked by a fishbone, and on the morrow Silvester was released by the people. During the persecution of Constantine, Silvester was in 314 unanimously elected pope, an ofiice which he illustrated by his Christian virtues. Not long afterwards he was the means of the conversion of the Emperor Constantine (see Cross, Invention of the). The emperor granted the Lateran Palace for a church, and on this site St Peter’s was erected. Sometime after the priests of the idols came. to the emperor and said, “Sire, since you embraced Christianity, the dragon which is in the cavern has killed three hundred men every day by his poisonous breath.” Thereupon the emperor consulted Silvester, who promised to put an end to the evil, while the priests said they would believe if he succeeded. Then Saint Peter appeared to the pope instructing him in what he should do. And Silvester went to the cavern with two priests, and descended into it, carrying a great lantern. Addressing the dragon, he said, “Satan, remain here until the second coming of Christ,” and he bound and sealed up the monster’s mouth. On reaching the mouth of the cave he found two enchanters who had followed him and who were half poisoned by the creature’s breath. Silvester took these men with him, converting them, as well as an innumerable multitude of unbelievers. Finally, as the end of his life drew near, Silvester recommended his clergy to be full of charity, to govern the church with zeal, and to preserve the flock from wolves. And he fell asleep, peacefully in the Lord. 31st December.


  • Papal habit with a bull or a dragon near him.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Silvester, the Pope”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 26 April 2017. Web. 21 February 2019. <>