lundi 29 octobre 2012

Saint NARCISSE de JÉRUSALEM,évêque

Saint Narcisse

Évêque de Jérusalem ( 212)

Il présida le concile de Palestine qui décida de célébrer Pâques un dimanche et non au jour anniversaire du 14 nisan. Il mourut plus que centenaire et son remplaçant écrivit de lui: «Il gouverne encore l'Église par ses prières. Il vient d'avoir cent seize ans et il vous engage, comme je le fais aussi, à vivre dans la concorde et la paix.»

Il était déjà très âgé quand il fut élu évêque de Jérusalem, ce qui ne l'empêcha pas de prendre une part très active à la vie de l'Église. Il donna sa vie au Christ, tué par l'épée selon le récit d'Eusèbe de Césarée.

A écouter sur la radio RCF la rediffusion de Saint Narcisse, évêque de Jérusalem, nommé évêque de Jérusalem à l'âge de 100 ans, Narcisse obtient un changement dans la célébration de Pâques, lors de l'un des nombreux conciles des premiers temps de l'Eglise.

Commémoraison de saint Narcisse, évêque de Jérusalem, dont il faut louer la sainteté, l’endurance et la foi. Il fut d’accord avec le pape saint Victor sur le temps de la célébration de la Pâque chrétienne, affirmant que le mystère de la Résurrection du Seigneur ne devait être célébré un autre jour que le dimanche et s’en alla avec bonheur auprès du Seigneur à l’âge de cent treize ans.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/2098/Narcisse.html

Saint Narcisse

Évêque de Jérusalem

(IIe siècle)

Saint Narcisse, né en Palestine, vers la fin du Ier siècle, s'appliqua dès sa jeunesse, avec un grand soin, à l'étude des sciences divines et humaines. Il entra dans l'état ecclésiastique, et l'on put voir en lui le modèle achevé de toutes les vertus sacerdotales; aussi l'appelait-on le saint prêtre. Pendant toute sa vie il fut entouré de l'estime universelle; toutefois ce n'est qu'à l'âge de quatre-vingts ans qu'il fut choisi pour évêque de Jérusalem.

Cette haute dignité lui inspira un nouveau zèle et une nouvelle ferveur, et il gouverna son troupeau avec une vigueur qu'on n'aurait pas dû naturellement attendre de son grand âge. Sa vie austère et pénitente fut toute entière vouée au bien de l'Église. En 195, il présida, avec Théophile de Césarée, un concile tenu relativement à la célébration de la fête de Pâques, et où il fut décidé que cette fête se célébrerait toujours un dimanche, et non le jour où il était d'usage de la célébrer chez les Juifs.

Le Ciel opéra un grand nombre de prodiges par les mains de ce vénérable pontife: on en raconte un particulièrement remarquable. Une veille de Pâques, l'huile manquait aux lampes de son église pour les offices solennels qui avaient alors lieu dans la nuit. Narcisse commanda de tirer de l'eau à un puits qui était proche et de la lui apporter; il la bénit et la fit verser dans les lampes; on s'aperçut alors qu'elle s'était changée en huile, ce qui excita l'admiration des fidèles. On conserva longtemps avec respect des restes de cette huile miraculeuse.

La vénération que ce saint évêque s'était attirée ne put le garantir de la malice des méchants. Trois scélérats l'accusèrent d'un crime atroce et confirmèrent leur calomnie par des imprécations horribles contre eux-mêmes. L'un dit: "Je veux être brûlé vif, ci cela n'est pas vrai!" L'autre: "Je veux être couvert de la lèpre!" Le troisième: "Je consens à perdre la vue!" Narcisse crut devoir céder à l'orage et se retira dans un désert, où il s'ensevelit pendant huit années. Dieu Se chargea de sa vengeance. Ses calomniateurs reçurent le prix de leur crime: le premier périt dans un incendie, avec toute sa famille; le second fut couvert d'une lèpre horrible; le troisième, frappé d'effroi et plein de repentir, pleura son péché au point qu'il en perdit la vue. Narcisse ne put résister plus longtemps aux instances de son peuple et vint reprendre le soin de son Église. Il mourut à l'âge de cent seize ans.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950

SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/saint_narcisse.html


Saint Narcisse

Évêque de Jérusalem (IIe siècle)
Saint Narcisse, né en Palestine, vers la fin du Ier siècle entra dans l’état ecclésiastique. Pendant toute sa vie il fut entouré de l’estime universelle.

A l’âge de quatre-vingts ans, il fut choisi pour évêque de Jérusalem.

Cette haute dignité lui inspira un nouveau zèle et une nouvelle ferveur, et il gouverna son troupeau avec une vigueur qu’on n’aurait pas dû naturellement attendre de son grand âge. Sa vie austère et pénitente fut toute entière vouée au bien de l’Église. En 195, il présida, avec Théophile de Césarée, un concile tenu relativement à la célébration de la fête de Pâques, et où il fut décidé que cette fête se célébrerait toujours un dimanche, et non le jour où il était d’usage de la célébrer chez les Juifs.

Le Ciel opéra un grand nombre de prodiges par les mains de ce vénérable pontife : on en raconte un particulièrement remarquable. Une veille de Pâques, l’huile manquait aux lampes de son église pour les offices solennels qui avaient alors lieu dans la nuit. Narcisse commanda de tirer de l’eau à un puits qui était proche et de la lui apporter ; il la bénit et la fit verser dans les lampes ; on s’aperçut alors qu’elle s’était changée en huile, ce qui excita l’admiration des fidèles. On conserva longtemps avec respect des restes de cette huile miraculeuse.

La vénération que ce saint évêque s’était attirée ne put le garantir de la malice des méchants. Trois scélérats l’accusèrent d’un crime atroce et confirmèrent leur calomnie par des imprécations horribles contre eux-mêmes. L’un dit : "Je veux être brûlé vif, ci cela n’est pas vrai !" L’autre : "Je veux être couvert de la lèpre !" Le troisième : "Je consens à perdre la vue !" Narcisse crut devoir céder à l’orage et se retira dans un désert, où il s’ensevelit pendant huit années. Dieu Se chargea de sa vengeance. Ses calomniateurs reçurent le prix de leur crime : le premier périt dans un incendie, avec toute sa famille ; le second fut couvert d’une lèpre horrible ; le troisième, frappé d’effroi et plein de repentir, pleura son péché au point qu’il en perdit la vue. Narcisse ne put résister plus longtemps aux instances de son peuple et vint reprendre le soin de son Église. Il mourut à l’âge de cent seize ans.


Narcissus of Jerusalem B (RM)


Born in Greece; died c. 222. Saint Narcissus was at least 80 when he was made the 30th bishop of Jerusalem. In a letter written in 212, Saint Alexander, who later became his coadjutor, refers to Narcissus as being 116 years old. He was one of those who at a council held at Jerusalem favored the Roman custom of celebrating Easter.


Eusebius states that in his time many of the miracles wrought by Saint Narcissus were still remembered by the people of Jerusalem. One Easter Eve, when the supply of oil for the lamps in the church had run out, Narcissus told his deacons to bring him some water from the neighboring wells. After he had prayed over it, he had the deacons pour the water into the lamps, which they did. To the amazement of the faithful, the water was miraculously converted into oil. Some of this oil was kept there as a memorial at the time when Eusebius wrote his history.

Although Narcissus was ancient when he assumed the see of Jerusalem, he was not a weak bishop. He censured slackness among the laity and clergy throughout his diocese. Perhaps because of the severity with which he enforced the observance of discipline, he provoked the hostility of three perjurers who accused him of some crime that Eusebius does not specify but that the three men affirmed with violent oaths. "May I be burned alive if I am lying," said the first. "May I be stricken with leprosy," said the second. "May I be deprived of my sight," said the third. Not long afterwards, the first died with his entire family in a house fire, and the second died of leprosy. The third was so terrified by what had befallen his fellow calumniators that he confessed the conspiracy and slander. His tears of repentance were so copious that he is said to have lost his sight before he died.

Though vindicated--indeed few people at the time had believed the accusation brought against him--Narcissus use the scandal as an excuse to go into retreat to pray constantly without distraction, an ambition which he had long cherished.

During his absence, first Dius (or Pius), then Germanius, and then Gordius filled his see. Narcissus lived in such complete solitude that it was widely assumed that he had died, and his sudden return to Jerusalem had the same effect as if he had indeed come back from the dead. He was received with great rejoicing by the people of his diocese who urged him to stay and resume his episcopal functions. Narcissus agreed but, on account of his great age, appointed Saint Alexander to help him. He continued in his office until his death, which is believed to have taken place in about 220-222 (Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

In art, Saint Narcissus is depicted as a bishop holding a thistle in blossom. Sometimes there is a pitcher of water near him or an angel is shown carrying his soul to heaven (Roeder).


Narcissus (Eusebius, Church History V.12). Narcissus was a man famous for his virtues and miracles, but hated by certain vicious people in the city who feared his severity. They accused him of various crimes and he, for the sake of peace, retired to an unknown solitude (Eusebius, Church History VI.9). The neighbouring bishops, hearing nothing more of him, proceeded to elect and consecrate Dios as his successor. Dios was succeeded by Germanion and Gordios. Then suddenly Narcissus reappeared, an old man of 110 years. The other bishops persuaded him to resume his place as bishop. Too old to do anything but pray for his flock, he made a Cappadocian bishop, Alexander, who came on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, his coadjutor.



St. Narcissus, Bishop of Jerusalem

From Euseb. Hist. l. 5, c. 12, 23, 25; l. 6, c. 9, 10, 11, 12. St. Jerom, De viris illustr. c. 73. Tillemont, t. 3
Second Century.

ST. NARCISSUS was born towards the close of the first century, and was almost fourscore years old when he was placed at the head of the church of Jerusalem, being the thirtieth bishop of that see. In 195, he and Theophilus, bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine, presided in a council of the bishops of Palestine held at Cæsarea, about the time of celebrating Easter; in which it was decreed that this feast is to be kept always on a Sunday, and not with the Jewish passover. Eusebius assures us, that the Christians of Jerusalem preserved in his time the remembrance of several miracles which God had wrought by this holy bishop; one of which he relates as follows. One year on Easter-eve the deacons were unprovided with oil for the lamps in the church, necessary at the solemn divine office that day. Narcissus ordered those who had care of the lamps to bring him some water from the neighbouring wells. This being done, he pronounced a devout prayer over the water; then bade them pour it into the lamps; which they did, and it was immediately converted into oil, to the great surprise of the faithful. Some of this miraculous oil was kept there as a memorial at the time when Eusebius wrote his history. The veneration of all good men for this holy bishop could not shelter him from the malice of the wicked. Three incorrigible sinners, fearing his inflexible severity in the observance of ecclesiastical discipline, laid to his charge a detestable crime, which Eusebius does not specify. They confirmed their atrocious calumny by dreadful oaths and imprecations; one wishing he might perish by fire, another, that he might be struck with a leprosy, and the third, that he might lose his sight, if what they alleged was not the truth. Notwithstanding these protestations, their accusation did not find credit; and, some time after, the divine vengeance pursued the calumniators. The first was burnt in his house, with his whole family, by an accidental fire in the night; the second was struck with a universal leprosy; and the third, terrified by these examples, confessed the conspiracy and slander, and by the abundance of tears which he continually shed for his sins, lost his sight before his death.

Narcissus, notwithstanding the slander had made no impression on the people to his disadvantage, could not stand the shock of the bold calumny, or rather made it an excuse for leaving Jerusalem, and spending some time in solitude, which had long been his wish. He spent several years undiscovered in his retreat, where he enjoyed all the happiness and advantage which a close conversion with God can bestow. That his church might not remain destitute of a pastor, the neighbouring bishops of the province, after some time, placed in it Pius, and after him Germanion, who, dying in a short time, was succeeded by Gordius. Whilst this last held the see, Narcissus appeared again like one from the dead. The whole body of the faithful, transported at the recovery of their holy pastor, whose innocence had been most authentically vindicated, conjured him to reassume the administration of the diocess. He acquiesced; but afterwards, bending under the weight of extreme old age, made St. Alexander his coadjutor. 1 This primitive example authorizes the practice of coadjutorships; which, nevertheless, are not allowable by the canons except in cases of the perpetual inability of a bishop through age, incurable infirmity, or other impediment, as Marianus Victorius observes in his notes upon St. Jerom. 2 St. Narcissus continued to serve his flock, and even other churches, by his assiduous prayers and his earnest exhortations to unity and concord, as St. Alexander testifies in his letter to the Arsinoites in Egypt, where he says that Narcissus was at that time about one hundred and sixteen years old. The Roman Martyrology honours his memory on the 29th of October.

The pastors of the primitive church, animated with the spirit of the apostles, were faithful imitators of their heroic virtues, discovering the same fervent zeal, the same contempt of the world, the same love of Christ. If we truly respect the church as the immaculate spouse of our Lord, we will incessantly pray for its exaltation and increase, and beseech the Almighty to give it pastors according to his own heart, like those who appeared in the infancy of Christianity. And, that no obstacle on our part may prevent the happy effects of their zeal, we should study to regulate our conduct by the holy maxims which they inculcate; we should regard them as the ministers of Christ; we should listen to them with docility and attention; we should make their faith the rule of ours, and shut our ears against the language of profane novelty. O! that we could once more see a return of those happy days when the pastor and the people had but one heart and one soul; when there was no diversity in our belief; when the faithful seemed only to vie with each other in their submission to the church, and in their desire of sanctification.

Note 1. On St. Alexander, see March 18. [back]

Note 2. Marian, in S. Hier. de Vir. Illustr. c. 73, t. 1, p. 298, ed. Paris, 1623. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume X: October. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.