Saint Narcissus of Jerusalem


Saint Narcissus was born around the year AD 99 and was of Greek origin. He was nearing the age of 80 when made the 30th bishop of Jerusalem a century after the city and Temple were destroyed by the Roman Empire (and after being rebuilt as Aelia Capitolina by Hadrian). He was instrumental with the council of Bishops of Palestine in Caesarea where the council decreed that Easter should be kept and celebrated on Sundays, not with the Jewish Passover. Many miracles are attributed, one especially that happened on Easter. The Bishop of Historian Eusebius writes:


"One year on Easter-eve the deacons did not have any oil for the lamps in the church, which was necessary at the solemn divine office on that day. Narcissus ordered those who had care of the lamps to bring him some water from the neighboring wells. This being done, he pronounced a devout prayer over the water. Then he bade them pour it into the lamps; which they did. The water was immediately converted into oil, to the great surprise of all the faithful."

Shortly after this council, three men brought forward charges of a crime committed by Saint Narcissus. To back up their claims, the first said if he didn't speak the truth he would be burned alive, the second that he'd be struck with leprosy and the third that he be made blind. When the accusations were found to be false, the first burned alive with his family inside of his home and the second came down with a full case of leporacy . The third confessed the conspiracy but lost his sight before his death. Saint Narcissus left for the desert after this and spent many years in isolation with God.


Upon his return, he named Saint Alexander his coadjutor and continued to serve his churches and parishioners. Saint Alexander testifies in his letter to the Arsinoites that Saint Narcissus was about 116 years old at this point. Saint Narcissus died in the year 216 AD at the age of nearly 117 years old. His feast day is celebrated on October 29th.

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