What feast does the 31 in the evening? The end of a year of hard work and the beginning of a year of happiness, hasardera-t-on. Or the good opportunity to binge and do a bit of partying until the end of the night. New year’s eve, 33rd pope of the catholic Church, could be the patron saint of revellers. But because it is necessary to give to God what is God’s, which was new year’s eve?

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According to catholic tradition, the roman new year’s eve shines primarily by protecting a certain Timothy, a staunch defender of the christian faith who died a martyr. While the roman prefect threat Sylvestre, in turn, to have hidden the remains of Timothy, he would have answered: “Fool, it is yourself that, on this night, will give an account to God”. The dignitary roman, struck by the wrath of heaven, would have died in the night, choked by a fishbone. On new year’s eve? The canon does not say that.

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Sylvester 1, pope 314-335, after a medallion in mosaic of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside The Walls (Rome) . Rue des Archives/©Rue des Archives/PVDE

Sylvester was ordained a priest by pope Saint Marcellin. Again, without doubt we know more the little cheese from the Dauphiné, that of the sovereign pontiff. In 314, he became the 33rd pope of the Church. At this time, reign of Constantine. The famous golden Legend of Jacques de Voragine, a saints ‘ lives written in the Thirteenth century, made him the praise of having converted the emperor to christianity in the curing leprosy by baptism. According to some historians, the sovereign would have rather married the christian faith for political reasons, sensitive to the growing success of christianity. The dominican Jacques de Voragine says that Sylvester would have also tamed a dragon by blowing in the ear “the words of the Holy Spirit”. He died on 31 December 335.

The pope at the council of Nicea

Sylvester I holds the reins of the Church at the time of a transitional period of christianity. In 313, Constantine had issued the edict of Milan which tolerated christianity. Under the pontificate of Sylvester held the council of Nicaea, which convened at the request of the emperor, in 325, the bishops of the East and West. The cannons are adopted, decreed, inter alia, that arianism is a heresy. The doctrine was that Christ, since he was created after the Father, could not have a nature similar to the one below. And it was, therefore, lower.

Pontiff erased or tired, Sylvester leave it to Constantine to go to the council at its place and to strengthen the christian canon. It is also the emperor who started the construction of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a vast complex built on the supposed place of the tomb where Christ is said to have risen, according to the Gospels .

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The praise, justified or not, are reserved by christian traditions to Constantine will no doubt have obscured the figure of Saint Sylvester. The feast of the New year will bring light to his name centuries later, when Charles IX, established in 1564 on the 1st of January as the first day of the new year.