Fabian of Rome
Fabian, whose feast we keep today, is probably not someone many of us spend time thinking about. Somewhat obscure, at least to our mind, he’s none the less a fascinating character, who intrigues me.
Born about the year 200, probably outside Rome, he became Bishop of Rome in the year 236 as a result of a series of accidents. Eusebius of Caesarea gives an account of his election.
Fabian, we are told, was visiting Rome the day the Roman Church was gathered to elect a new bishop. Curious, Fabian joined the crowd. Eusebius goes on to say: a large number of eminent and distinguished men were in the thoughts of many, Fabian, who was present, came to no one’s mind. But suddenly, it is said, a dove fluttered down from above and settled upon his head, plainly following the example of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Saviour in the form of a dove. At this, as if moved by one divine inspiration, with the utmost enthusiasm all the people with one soul cried out “he is worthy”, and then and there they took him and set him upon the bishop’s throne.