Narcissus of Jerusalem
|Saint Narcissus of Jerusalem|
|Bishop of Jerusalem and Confessor|
|Born||c. AD 99|
|Died||c. AD 216 (aged 117)
Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem), Syria Palaestina
|Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
|Feast||October 29 (Roman Catholic Church)
August 7 (Eastern Orthodox Church)
|Attributes||Depicted as a Bishop holding a thistle in blossom; pitcher of water near him; an angel depicted carrying his soul to Heaven.|
Saint Narcissus of Jerusalem (c. 99 – c. 216) was an early patriarch of Jerusalem. He is venerated as a saint by both the Western and Eastern Churches. In the Roman Catholic Church, his feast day is celebrated on October 29, while in the Eastern Orthodox Church it is celebrated on August 7.
It is inferred that the average reign of the bishops of Jerusalem was short, as evidenced by the episcopal reigns of those who followed Saint Simeon, the second bishop of Jerusalem, who was martyred in the year 117 by the Emperor Trajan. Of Greek origin, tradition holds that Narcissus was born in the year 99 and was at least 80 when he was made the thirtieth bishop of Jerusalem. More than a century had then elapsed since the city was destroyed by the Romans, and it had since been rebuilt as Aelia Capitolina by the Emperor Hadrian.
In the year 195, St Narcissus, together with Theophitus or Theoctistus, bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, presided over a council held by the bishops of Palestine in Caesarea, and it was decreed that Easter was to be always kept on a Sunday, and not with the Jewish Passover. According to Eusebius, the holy bishop performed many miracles. One miracle of note, as Eusebius testified, had occurred during the Easter Vigil when the saintly bishop changed water into oil to supply all the lamps of the church.
Regardless of his sanctity, he was severely calumniated by certain members of his own flock. God made his innocence known and those who had sought to destroy St Narcissus by their lies were themselves found out to be liars and suffered for their sins. Prior to leaving Jerusalem, this holy man forgave all, and retired in seclusion for several years.
Three bishops governed the See of Jerusalem in succession during his absence. Upon his return to Jerusalem, the people unanimously sought him out and asked him to resume his episcopal duties. This he did, but owing to his extreme age and the weight of the duties then thrust upon him, he made Saint Alexander his coadjutor bishop. St Narcissus continued to serve his flock and other churches outside his jurisdiction by his constant, fervent prayer and his earnest exhortations to the faithful for unity and peace. St Narcissus died while in prayer on his knees at the age of 117. St Alexander, who served as St Narcissus' coadjutor, wrote a letter in the year 212 that he had then reached the age of 116.
- Hoever (1955), p. 423
- St Simeon was elected bishop of Jerusalem after St James the Just was martyred in the year 63, and would reign for nearly 54 years, but not without interruption (owing to persecution). See St Simeon of Jerusalem
- Hoever (1955), p. 424
- Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book VI, ch. IX.
- Hoever (1955), pp. 423–424
- Saint of the Day, October 29: Narcissus of Jerusalem SaintPatrickDC.org. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
- Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O.Cist., Ph.D., ed. (1955). Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year. New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co.