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January 20 

Saint of the day:

Saint Fabian

Saint Fabian’s Story

Fabian was a Roman layman who came into the city from his farm one day as clergy and people were preparing to elect a new pope. Eusebius, a Church historian, says a dove flew in and settled on the head of Fabian. This sign united the votes of clergy and laity, and he was chosen unanimously.

He led the Church for 14 years and died a martyr’s death during the persecution of Decius in 250 A.D. Saint Cyprian wrote to his successor that Fabian was an “incomparable” man whose glory in death matched the holiness and purity of his life.

In the catacombs of Saint Callistus, the stone that covered Fabian’s grave may still be seen, broken into four pieces, bearing the Greek words, “Fabian, bishop, martyr.”

Fabian (Latin: Fabianus; c. 200 – 20 January 250) was the Bishop of Rome from 10 January 236 to his death in 250, succeeding Anterus. He is famous for the miraculous nature of his election, in which a dove is said to have descended on his head to mark him as the Holy Spirit's unexpected choice to become the next pope. He was succeeded by Cornelius.

Most of his papacy was characterized by amicable relations with the imperial government, and Fabian could thus bring back to Rome the bodies of Pope Pontian and the antipope Hippolytus, both of whom had died in exile in the Sardinian mines, for Christian burial. It was also probably during his reign that the schism between the two corresponding Roman congregations of these leaders was ended. He was highly esteemed by Cyprian ;Novatian refers to his nobilissima memoriae, and he corresponded with Origen. One authority refers to him as Flavian.

The Liber Pontificalis, a fourth-century document that survives in later copies, says that he divided Rome into diaconates and appointed secretaries to collect the records of the martyrs. He is also said, probably without basis, to have baptized the emperor Philip the Arab and his son. More plausible is the report in the Liberian Catalogue that he sent out seven "apostles to the Gauls" as missionaries.

He died a martyr at the beginning of the Decian persecution and is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church. Fabian's feast day is commemorated on January 20, the same as Saint Sebastian, in whose church his sepulcher lies in Rome.








Fabian was buried in the catacomb of Callixtus in Rome. The Greek inscription on his tomb has survived, and bears the words:


Fabian, Bishop, Martyr.

His remains were later reinterred at San Sebastiano fuori le mura by Pope Clement XI where the Albani Chapel is dedicated in his honor.





Dove Dinner Rolls 

In honor of St. Fabian



  • 2 cups pastry flour 

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 3 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed

  • 1 large egg

  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups AP unbleached bread flour


  • 48 dried currants

  • 24 slivered almonds

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk



  1. In a large bowl, mix pastry flour, and salt.

  2. In a small saucepan, heat water, milk and butter to 120°

    (make sure the butter has melted).

  3. Once the mixture has cooled to 110° add the sugar & yeast and bloom your yeast.

  4. Add the bloomed yeast mixture to the dry ingredients; beat on medium speed 1 minute. Add egg; beat on high 2 minutes. Stir in enough bread flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

  5. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

  6. Punch down dough. Let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide and shape into 24 balls. Roll each into a 10-in. rope; tie into a loose knot. Bring one end up and tuck into center of roll to form head. Flatten opposite end; with a sharp knife, cut five slits to form tail feathers. Press two currants into head for eyes and one almond for beak. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

  7. Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°.

  8. In a small bowl, whisk egg and milk; brush over rolls. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks; serve warm.Yield: 2 dozen.

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