Saint Narcissus was born sometime around the year 99 A.D. There is absolutely nothing known about his early life. In fact, practically nothing is known about him before age 80. At this time, he was consecrated the 13th bishop of Jerusalem.
Around the year 195, Narcissus presided over a council of the bishops of Palestine. The main issue that was brought before this council was about whether or not the Easter celebration should be tied to the traditional Jewish Passover. The bishops’ decision that Easter should always be on a Sunday is still followed in modern times.
During his lifetime, Narcissus was known as a miracle-worker. On one Holy Saturday, for example, there was not enough lamp oil to last through the ceremonies. Narcissus told the lamp-bearers to draw water from a well and, after he had prayed over it, it turned into oil. For many years after this miracle, some of the oil was kept in the church as a holy relic.
The only other well known event in Saint Narcissus’ life took place when, on an unknown date, he was accused by three men of an unnamed, yet horrible, sin. The way these men sought to bring down the holy bishop leads one to wonder if demonic possession was at work. Each man asked that he might, respectively, be killed by fire, devoured by leprosy, and struck blind if what he said was proved false.
Narcissus kept his composure throughout this ordeal and simply looked at it as an opportunity to live the life of a hermit. After forgiving his accusers, he disappeared into the desert. Later on, one of the men, along with his entire family, died during a house fire. The second contracted leprosy and the third cried from fear and contrition to the extent that he lost his sight.
Narcissus remained in isolation so long that the people of Jerusalem thought he was dead. When he reappeared years later, they begged him not to leave them again. Saint Narcissus lived out his life in Jerusalem and died of natural cause sometime around the year 215. It is thought that he lived to the age of 116.
In the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Saint Narcissus is commemorated on August 7. In the Roman Catholic Church, his feast day is October 29.
Source: Butler’s Lives of the Saints