The Departure of St. Celestine, Pope of Rome
On this day also, the great Pope Celestine, bishop of the city of Rome, departed (July 27th, 432 A.D.). This saint was the disciple of St. Boniface, bishop of Rome. At the time of his death, he commended that father Celestine would succeed him, and then he cautioned him saying, "Take heed O my son for there would be ravening wolves in the city of Rome." This father was a righteous and well learned monk. When Pope Boniface departed on September 4th, 422 A.D., they ordained Celestine in his place on September 10th, 422 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Honorius. This Emperor died in the city of Raffeen in France in the year 423 A.D. One of the Emperors (Julian the Infidel) wanted to appoint Nestorius a patriarch for Rome and expel Celestine the saintly Pope. The people rose up and expelled Nestorius which made Emperor Julian enraged against him. This Saint fled to one of the monasteries nearby Pentapolis (Five cities) and dwelt there. God wrought many signs and miracles by his hands.
Then, the angel Raphael appeared to him in a dream saying: "Rise up and go to the city of Antioch to its patriarch St. Dimitrius, and abide with him for the Emperor had decided in his heart to kill you upon his return from the war." When he woke up, he went forth from that monastery along with two brothers and came to the city of Antioch. He found its Patriarch ill, told him what had happened to him, and stayed in one of the monasteries of Antioch. Sts. Ignatius and Boniface along with a third venerable person appeared to the Emperor in a dream and said to him, "Why have you left the city of the saints without a bishop. Behold, God will remove your soul from you, and you shall die by the hands of your enemies." The Emperor asked, "What shall I do?" They replied, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" He answered saying, "I do believe." They said to him, "Send and bring our son bishop Celestine with honor, and restore him to his throne." When the Emperor awoke from his dream, he wrote to the patriarch of Antioch, Demetrius, asking him to inform his envoys of the whereabouts of Celestine, and return him to his See. They found him and returned him to his Chair with great honor, and the people received him with joy and
happiness. The peace and the affairs of the church were established by his presence.
When Nestorius blasphemed and the Council assembled for him, Celestine was unable to attend the Council, because of his illness, so he sent two priests with a letter excommunicating Nestorius in it. The Emperor believed in what Nestorius said, nevertheless he yielded to the decisions of the Council and exiled Nestorius to Egypt.
When the Lord willed for Celestine to depart from this world, St. Boniface, his predecessor, and St. Athanasius, the Apostolic, appeared to him and told him, "Affirm your people in the faith, for Christ is calling you." When he woke up he commanded his people saying, "Take heed to yourselves, for behold ravening wolves shall come into this city." Having said this he added, "I am leaving, for the saints are calling for me." When he said that, he departed in peace.
May his prayers be with us, and Glory be to God forever. Amen.
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