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Saint Narcissus

Saint Narcissus
  • Century: 1st & 2nd Century
  • Patronage: -
  • Feast Day: October 29th

St. Narcissus of Jerusalem was born in 99, and was an early patriarch of Jerusalem.  The average reign of the Bishops of Jerusalem was short, as evident by the Episcopal reigns of those who followed St. Simeon, the second Bishop of Jerusalem, who was martyred in the year 117, by the Emperor Trajan.  The next 63 or so years, held nearly 27 Bishops.  

Narcissus was of Greek origin, and tradition holds that St. Narcissus was born in the year 99, and was at least 80 when he was made the “30th” Bishop of Jerusalem.  More than a century had then elapsed since the Romans destroyed the city, and it had since been rebuilt as Aelia Capitolina by the Emperor Hadrian.  In the year 195, St. Narcissus together with Theophitus, Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, presided over a council held by the Bishops of Palestine in Caesarea.  It was declared that Easter was to always be kept on Sunday, and not with the Jewish Passover.  According to Eusebius, the holy Bishop Narcissus performed many miracles, one being that during the Easter Vigil, the saintly Bishop changed water into oil to supply all the lamps of the Church.  

Regardless of his sanctity, he was severely accused 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.   

At least 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.  He agreed, but because of his extreme age and the the heavy load of his duties, he made St. Alexander his coadjutor Bishop.  He continued to serve his flock and the other Churches outside his jurisdiction by his constant fervent prayer to the faithful unity and peace.  St. Narcissus died while in prayer on his knees at the age of 117.  

Practical Take Away

St. Narcissus was the 30th Bishop of Jerusalem, and was at least 80 when he took office.  It was somewhere around the year 180, so it shows us that the previous 29 Bishops were short lived.  He presided over a council held by the Bishops of Palestine in Caesarea.  As a result of this, it was declared that Easter was to always be kept on Sunday, and not with the Jewish Passover.  The holy Bishop Narcissus performed many miracles, one being that during the Easter Vigil, the saintly Bishop changed water into oil to supply all the lamps of the Church.  He wrought many miracles during his long reign as Bishop of Jerusalem, and remained in constant prayer for unity and peace.   In fact, he died in prayer, on his knees, at the age of 117.