(d. Jan. 20, 250). Early Pope and martyr. According to the early church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, the Roman-born Fabian was chosen to succeed Pope Anterus when a dove descended from heaven and lighted on his head. He was Pope from Jan. 10, 236, until his death. Fabian was an opponent of the Gnostic heresies and a very effective administrator. Under his leadership the Roman church was strengthened, and its temporal power was increased. When the Emperor Decius began a persecution in the year 250, Fabian was arrested. He was treated brutally and among the first to die. He is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Jan. 20.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.