|Papacy began||8 June 536|
|Papacy ended||March 538|
|Died||2 December 538|
Palmarola, Kingdom of the Ostrogoths
|Feast day||20 June|
|Papal styles of|
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Silverius (died 2 December 538) ruled the Holy See from 8 June 536 to his deposition in 538, a few months before his death. His rapid rise to prominence from a deacon to the papacy coincided the efforts of Ostrogothic king Theodahad (nephew to Theodoric the Great), who intended to install a pro-Gothic candidate just before the Gothic War. Later deposed by Byzantine general Belisarius, he was tried and sent to exile on the desolated island of Palmarola, where he starved to death in 538.
The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law.
Theodahad, also known as Thiudahad was king of the Ostrogoths from 534 to 536 and a nephew of Theodoric the Great through his mother Amalafrida. He is probably the son of Amalafrida's first husband because her second marriage was about 500 AD. His sister was Amalaberga.
Theodoric the Great, also spelled Theoderic or called Theodoric the Amal, was king of the Ostrogoths (471–526), and ruler of the independent Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy between 493–526, regent of the Visigoths (511–526), and a patrician of the Roman Empire. As ruler of the combined Gothic realms, Theodoric controlled an empire stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Adriatic Sea. He kept good relations between Ostrogoths and Romans, maintained a Roman legal administration and oversaw a flourishing scholarly culture as well as overseeing a significant building program across Italy.
He was a legitimate son of Pope Hormisdas, born in Frosinone, Lazio, some time before his father entered the priesthood. Silverius was probably consecrated 8 June 536. He was a subdeacon when king Theodahad of the Ostrogoths forced his election and consecration. Historian Jeffrey Richards interprets his low rank prior to becoming pope as an indication that Theodahad was eager to put a pro-Gothic candidate on the throne on the eve of the Gothic War and "had passed over the entire diaconate as untrustworthy".The Liber Pontificalis alleges that Silverius had purchased his elevation from King Theodahad.
Saint Hormisdas was Pope from 20 July 514 to his death in 523. His papacy was dominated by the Acacian schism, started in 484 by Acacius of Constantinople's efforts to placate the Monophysites. His efforts to resolve this schism were successful, and on 28 March 519, the reunion between Constantinople and Rome was ratified in the cathedral of Constantinople before a large crowd.
The Ostrogoths were the eastern branch of the older Goths. The Ostrogoths traced their origins to the Greutungi – a branch of the Goths who had migrated southward from the Baltic Sea and established a kingdom north of the Black Sea, during the 3rd and 4th centuries. They built an empire stretching from the Black Sea to the Baltic. The Ostrogoths were probably literate in the 3rd century, and their trade with the Romans was highly developed. Their Danubian kingdom reached its zenith under King Ermanaric, who is said to have committed suicide at an old age when the Huns attacked his people and subjugated them in about 370.
The Liber Pontificalis is a book of biographies of popes from Saint Peter until the 15th century. The original publication of the Liber Pontificalis stopped with Pope Adrian II (867–872) or Pope Stephen V (885–891), but it was later supplemented in a different style until Pope Eugene IV (1431–1447) and then Pope Pius II (1458–1464). Although quoted virtually uncritically from the 8th to 18th centuries, the Liber Pontificalis has undergone intense modern scholarly scrutiny. The work of the French priest Louis Duchesne, and of others has highlighted some of the underlying redactional motivations of different sections, though such interests are so disparate and varied as to render improbable one popularizer's claim that it is an "unofficial instrument of pontifical propaganda."
On 9 December 536, the Byzantine general Belisarius entered Rome with the approval of Pope Silverius. Theodahad's successor Witiges gathered together an army and besieged Rome for several months, subjecting the city to privation and starvation. In the words of Richards, "What followed is as tangled a web of treachery and double-dealing as can be found anywhere in the papal annals. Several different versions of the course of events following the elevation of Silverius exist."In outline, all accounts agree: Silverius was deposed by Belisarius in March 538 and sent into exile after being judged by the wife of Belisarius, Antonina, who accused him of conspiring with the Goths. Not only did Belisarius exile Silverius, he also banished a number of distinguished senators, Flavius Maximus—a descendant of a previous emperor—among them. Vigilius, who was in Constantinople as apocrisiarius or papal legate, was brought to Rome to replace Silverius as the pontiff.
Flavius Belisarius was a military commander of the (Byzantine) Eastern Roman Empire. He was instrumental in the reconquest of much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century before.
Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.
Pope Vigilius was Pope from 29 March 537 to his death in 555. He is considered the first pope of the Byzantine Papacy.
The fullest account is in the Breviarium of Liberatus of Carthage, who portrays Vigilius "as a greedy and treacherous pro-Monophysite who ousted and virtually murdered his predecessor." In exchange for being made Pope, Liberatus claims he promised Empress Theodora to restore the former patriarch of Constantinople Anthimus to his position. Silverius was sent into exile at Patara in Lycia, whose bishop petitioned the emperor for a fair trial for Silverius. Rattled by this, Justinian ordered Silverius returned to Rome to be tried accordingly.However, when Silverius returned to Italy, instead of holding a trial Belisarius handed him over to Vigilius, who according to The Liber Pontificalis banished Silverius to the desolate island Palmarola (part of the Pontine Islands), where he starved to death a few months later.
Liberatus of Carthage was an archdeacon and the author of an important history of the Nestorian and Monophysite controversies in the 5th- and 6th-century Christian Church.
Monophysitism is the Christological position that, after the union of the divine and the human in the historical incarnation, Jesus Christ, as the incarnation of the eternal Son or Word (Logos) of God, had only a single "nature" which was either divine or a synthesis of divine and human. Monophysitism is contrasted to dyophysitism which maintains that Christ maintained two natures, one divine and one human, after the incarnation.
Theodora was empress of the Eastern Roman Empire by marriage to Emperor Justinian I. She was one of the most influential and powerful of the Eastern Roman empresses, albeit from a humble background. Some sources mention her as empress regnant with Justinian I as her co-regent. Along with her spouse, she is a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, commemorated on November 14.
The account in the Liber Pontificalis is hardly more favorable to Vigilius. That work agrees with Liberatus that the restoration of Anthimus to the Patriarchate was the cause of Silverius' deposition, but Vigilius was initially sent to persuade Silverius to agree to this, not replace him. Silverius refused and Vigilius then claimed to Belisarius that Pope Silverius had written to Witiges offering to betray the city. Belisarius did not believe this accusation, but Vigilius produced false witnesses to testify to this, and through persistence overcame his scruples. Silverius was summoned to the Pincian palace, where he was stripped of his vestments and handed over to Vigilius, who dispatched him into exile. Procopius omits all mention of religious controversy in Vigilius' actions. He writes that Silverius was accused of offering to betray Rome to the Goths. Upon learning of this, Belisarius had him deposed, put in a monk's habit and exiled to Greece. Several other senators were also banished from Rome at the same time on similar charges. Belisarius then appointed Vigilius.Deprived of sufficient sustenance, Silverius starved to death on the island of Palmarola.
The Pincian Hill is a hill in the northeast quadrant of the historical center of Rome. The hill lies to the north of the Quirinal, overlooking the Campus Martius. It was outside the original boundaries of the ancient city of Rome, and was not one of the Seven hills of Rome, but it lies within the wall built by Roman Emperor Aurelian between 270 and 273.
Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent late antique Byzantine Greek scholar from Palaestina Prima. Accompanying the Byzantine general Belisarius in Emperor Justinian's wars, Procopius became the principal Byzantine historian of the 6th century, writing the History of the Wars, the Buildings, and the Secret History. He is commonly classified as the last major historian of the ancient Western world.
Richards attempts to reconcile these divergent accounts into a unified account. He points out that Liberatus wrote his Breviarium at the height of the Three-Chapter Controversy, "when Vigilius was being regarded by his opponents as anti-Christ and Liberatus was prominent among these opponents", and the Liber Pontificalis drew from an account written at the same time. Once these religious elements are removed, Richards argues that it is clear "the whole episode was political in nature."He points out for Justinian's plans to recover Rome and Italy, "that there should be a pro-Eastern pope substituted as soon as possible. The ideal candidate was at hand in Constantinople. The deacon Vigilius' principal motivation throughout his career, as far as can be ascertained, was the desire to be pope and he was not really concerned about which faction put him there."
The Three-Chapter Controversy, a phase in the Chalcedonian controversy, was an attempt to reconcile the Non-Chalcedonian Christians of Syria and Egypt with the Great Church, following the failure of the Henotikon. The Three Chapters that Emperor Justinian I anathematized were:
Silverius was later recognized as a saint by popular acclamation, and is now the patron saint of the island of Ponza, Italy. The first mention of his name in a list of saints dates to the 11th century.He is also called Saint Silverius (San Silverio). While Pope Silverius perished without fanfare and largely unlamented during the 6th century, the people from the neighboring island of Ponza have honored the virtuous St. Silverio, a heritage the reaches from the island to the United States, where many settlers from the island have carried settled in the Morisania section of the Bronx. From there, they celebrate the Festival of San Silverio at Our Lady of Pity Church on 151st Street and Morris Avenue, just as they have for centuries, calling on him for help. After the Church of Our Lady of Pity closed, the statue of San Silverio found a home at St. Ann's Church at 31 College Place, Yonkers, New York. The feast of San Silverio is observed here every year on June 20 with a special Mass and procession of the Statue of San Silverio. The statue is on permanent display for veneration by the faithful. According to Ponza Islands legend, fishermen were in a small boat in a storm off Palmarola and they called on Saint Silverius for help. An apparition of Saint Silverius called them to Palmarola, where they survived. This miracle made him venerated as a saint.
Pope Agapetus I was Pope from 13 May 535 to his death in 536. He is not to be confused with another Saint Agapetus, an Early Christian martyr with the feast day of 6 August.
Pope Marcellus I was the Bishop of Rome or Pope from May or June 308 to his death in 309. He succeeded Pope Marcellinus after a considerable interval. Under Maxentius, he was banished from Rome in 309, on account of the tumult caused by the severity of the penances he had imposed on Christians who had lapsed under the recent persecution. He died the same year, being succeeded by Pope Eusebius. His relics are under the altar of San Marcello al Corso in Rome. His third-class feast day is kept on January 16.
The 530s decade ran from January 1, 530, to December 31, 539.
Year 536 was a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the "Year after the Consulship of Belisarius". The denomination 536 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Year 537 (DXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Second year after the Consulship of Belisarius. The denomination 537 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Pope Symmachus was Pope from 22 November 498 to his death in 514. His tenure was marked by a serious schism over who was legitimately elected pope by the citizens of Rome.
Totila, original name Baduila, was the penultimate King of the Ostrogoths, reigning from 541 to 552 AD. A skilled military and political leader, Totila reversed the tide of the Gothic War, recovering by 543 almost all the territories in Italy that the Eastern Roman Empire had captured from his Kingdom in 540.
Palmarola is a craggy, mostly uninhabited island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the west coast of Italy. It is the second largest of the Pontine Islands and located about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) west from Ponza.
The Pontine Islands are an archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the west coast of Italy. The islands were collectively named after the largest island in the group, Ponza. The other islands in the archipelago are Palmarola, Zannone, and Gavi to the northwest, Ventotene and Santo Stefano to the southeast. These two groups are separated by 22 nautical miles (41 km). From Sabaudia-Cape Circeo peninsula to Zannone the distance is 12 nautical miles (22 km), while Ventotene faces Gaeta. The minimum distance between Santo Stefano and the isle of Ischia is 22 nautical miles (41 km).
Ponza is a comune (municipality) of the Province of Latina in the Italian region Lazio. It comprises the four islands of the western part of the Pontine archipelago in the Gulf of Gaeta : Ponza itself, Palmarola, Zannone, and Gavi. The economy of Ponza is essentially based on fishing and summer tourism.
Struggle for Rome is a historical novel written by Felix Dahn. The late nineteenth century English novelist George Gissing "glanced through" the 1878 translation in July 1897 whilst researching the Ostrogoths in Rome for his own novel Veranilda which remained unfinished at his death. He wrote in his diary that Dahn's novel was "a poor, unprofitable book. Can do better than that".
The First Siege of Rome during the Gothic War lasted for a year and nine days, from 2 March 537 to 12 March 538. The city was besieged by the Ostrogothic army under their king Vitiges; the defending East Romans were commanded by Belisarius, one of the most famous and successful Roman generals. The siege was the first major encounter between the forces of the two opponents, and played a decisive role in the subsequent development of the war.
The Ostrogothic Papacy was a period from 493 to 537 where the papacy was strongly influenced by the Ostrogothic Kingdom, if the pope was not outright appointed by the Ostrogothic King. The selection and administration of popes during this period was strongly influenced by Theodoric the Great and his successors Athalaric and Theodahad. This period terminated with Justinian I's (re)conquest of Rome during the Gothic War (535–554), inaugurating the Byzantine Papacy (537-752).
Antonina was a Byzantine patrikia and wife of the general Belisarius. Her influence over her husband was great; Procopius features her as dominating Belisarius. The historian Paolo Cesaretti mentions her as a controversial figure and the "right arm" of the empress Theodora in the exercise of power.
Rufius Petronius Nicomachus Cethegus was a politician of Ostrogothic Italy and the Eastern Roman Empire. He was appointed consul for 504, and held the post without a colleague. His father was Petronius Probinus, the consul for 489 and prominent supporter of Antipope Laurentius.
Turcius Rufius Apronianus Asterius was a Roman aristocrat during the reign of Theodoric the Great. He held the consulship with Flavius Praesidius in 494, having been Praefectus urbi of Rome before holding that honor.
Reparatus was a Roman aristocrat, and politician under Ostrogothic rule. He held the offices of Urban prefect (527) and Praetorian prefect of Italy.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Silverius .|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article Pope St. Silverius .|
|Catholic Church titles|
| Pope |