Giovanni di Paolo, c. 1450: St. Fabian. He was a layman when he was elected Bishop of Rome by acclamation; it’s said that a dove landed on him in the midst of the crowd gathered for the election, which reminded everyone of the bird that came to Jesus at his baptism. As Pope, Fabian organized the parochial structure in Rome, appointed deacons and subdeacons to write the lives of martyrs so their memory wouldn’t be lost, and was himself executed for the faith by the Emperor Decius, in the first persecution carried out all over the empire.

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