Of the Life of Saint Fabian the Martyr...


Of the interpretation of his name first.

Fabian is as much to say as making sovereign beatitude or blessedness, that is to wit in getting in three manner wises or manners. First by right and [by] reason of adoption of being in achate, and by victory.

Of S. Fabian the Martyr.

S. Fabian was a citizen and burgess of Rome, and it happed when the pope was dead that the people assembled for to choose another pope. And S. Fabian came to the election for to know who should be elect and chosen to that dignity. And anon a white dove descended from heaven and rested upon his head, and when the people saw that they marvelled much, and all they by common accord chose him for to be pope. This holy man Fabian, after when he was pope, he ordained throughout all the countries, seven deacons, and to them seven subdeacons, for to write the lives of martyrs.

There was an emperor in his time named Philip, which was much sinful, and came boldly in the vigil of Easter in to the church for to be houseled and communed, whom the pope drove away and denied to him the communion, until he had gone and shriven him of his sins, and let him stand among the seculars. This holy pope also ordained the chrism in the church. Then at the last when he had been pope thirteen years Decius the emperor commanded to smite off his head, and so he was crowned with the crown of martyrdom the year of our Lord two hundred and fifty-three.