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A forged document says that the papal goods were ceded by Constantine on New Year’s Eve
The indisputable fact is that with the conversion of Constantine, from the heart or simply out of political interest, Rome began to see a period of calm.
“[Entonces, Silvestre] he is the Pope who witnessed the end of the persecution of Christians determined by Constantine with his conversion to Christianity, a time in which peace was established â, contextualizes the researcher and student of the life of Saint JosÃ© LuÃs Lira, founder of the Brazilian Academy for Hagiography and professor at the State University of Vale do AcaraÃº.
But if both the account of Constantine’s conversion and the handing over of Roman possessions to the Church are legends, Sylvester’s peaceful relationship with the Empire explains many Christian improvements.
“Silvestre was considered a very good person to normalize the faith of the church and to regain Christianity in a process of pacifying religion in Rome,” says Domingues.
“It may not be true that Constantine ‘gave everything’ to the Pope, but it seems that he gave a lot,” he says.
Evidence of this is that important churches in Rome had their original seats at the time.
âIn the pontificate of St. Sylvester the authority of the Church was established and the first official Christian monuments were erected, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and the first basilicas of Rome, St. John Lateran and St. Peter, in addition to the churches of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. For his actions, for his life and for his testimony, we can say that he was celebrated as a saint, as a role model for Christians, âsays Lira.
âHis pontificate was very important for the church,â Domingues emphasizes.
The Vatican recalls that this meaning is present in the Roman imagination, with several works alluding to this religiosity.
âIt’s in a lot of mosaics, in a lot of Roman art, because it represents this very time of conversion, the transition from non-Christian Rome, when Christians were persecuted and the first saints were all martyrs, to a Rome where Christianity was legalized and then was institutionalized. “, he clarifies.
âBefore Silvestre there were no ‘churches’, the Christians prayed in houses, in remote places. During this time they will start building, âhe emphasizes.
His canonization, that is, the process of recognizing him as a saint, fell outside the established protocols of the Church, created long after his life.
“There used to be no canonization ceremony to recognize a person’s holiness, but his remains were venerated by Christians,” explains Medeiros.
âLet’s say he was celebrated ‘as a saint’ with a modern term, after all, that is how a person became a saint in ancient times: through the applause of the people,â he adds.
Silvestre appears as early as 1583 in the first version of the Roman Martyrdom, the book in which the names of the saints are inscribed.