Pope Siricius

Last updated
Pope Saint

Siricius
Pormenor do Retabulo de Santa Auta (Papa Ciriaco Abencoa Santa Auta e o Principe Conan), Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga.png
A detail of the Saint Auta Reredos depicting the Pope (referenced as Cyriacus in the legend of Saint Ursula). National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon, Portugal.
Papacy beganDecember 384
Papacy ended26 November 399
Predecessor Damasus I
Successor Anastasius I
Personal details
Birth nameSiricius
Born334
Died(399-11-26)26 November 399
Sainthood
Feast day26 November
Papal styles of
Pope Siricius
Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous style Saint

Pope Siricius (334 – 26 November 399) was Pope from December 384 [1] to his death in 399. He was successor to Pope Damasus I and was himself succeeded by Pope Anastasius I.

Pope leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

Pope Damasus I pope

Pope Damasus I was Bishop of Rome, from October 366 to his death in 384. He presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of Sacred Scripture. He spoke out against major heresies in the church and encouraged production of the Vulgate Bible with his support for St. Jerome. He helped reconcile the relations between the Church of Rome and the Church of Antioch, and encouraged the veneration of martyrs.

Pope Anastasius I pope

Pope Anastasius I served as Pope from 27 November 399 to his death in 401.

Contents

In response to inquiries from Bishop Himerius of Tarragona, Siricius issued decrees of baptism, church discipline and other matters. These are the oldest completely preserved papal decretals.

Decretals are letters of a pope that formulate decisions in ecclesiastical law of the Catholic Church.

Biography

Siricius was a native of Rome; his father's name was Tiburtius. Siricius entered the service of the Church at an early age and, according to the testimony of the inscription on his grave, was lector and then deacon of the Roman Church during the pontificate of Liberius. [2]

Pope Liberius 4th-century Pope

Pope Liberius was Pope of the Catholic Church from 17 May 352 until his death on 24 September 366. According to the Catalogus Liberianus, he was consecrated on 22 May as the successor to Pope Julius I. He is not mentioned as a saint in the Roman Martyrology, making him the earliest pontiff not to be venerated as a saint in the Roman Rite. Liberius is mentioned in the Greek Menology, the Eastern equivalent to the martyrologies of the Western Church and a measure of sainthood prior to the institution of the formal Western processes of canonization.

Siricius was elected Bishop of Rome unanimously, despite attempts by the Antipope Ursinus to promote himself. Emperor Valentinian II's confirmation of his election stilled any further objections. [3]

Ursicinus, also known as Ursinus, was elected pope in a violently contested election in 366 as a rival to Pope Damasus I. He ruled in Rome for several months in 366–367, was afterwards declared antipope, and died after 381.

He was an active Pope, involved in the administration of the Church and the handling of various factions and viewpoints within it. In response to a letter from Himerius, Bishop of Tarragona, he issued decisions on fifteen different points, on matters regarding baptism, penance, church discipline and the celibacy of the clergy. His are the oldest completely preserved decretals. [2]

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Himerius of Tarragona was bishop of Tarragona during the 4th century.

According to the life in the "Liber Pontificalis" (ed. Duchesne, I, 216), Siricius also took severe measures against the Manichæans at Rome. However, as Duchesne remarks (loc. cit., notes) it cannot be assumed from the writings of the converted Augustine of Hippo, who was a Manichæan when he went to Rome (383), that Siricius took any particular steps against them, yet Augustine would certainly have commented on this if such had been the case. The mention in the "Liber Pontificalis" belongs properly to the life of Pope Leo I. Neither is it probable, as Langen thinks (Gesch. der röm. Kirche, I, 633), that Priscillianists are to be understood by this mention of Manichæans, although probably Priscillianists were at times called Manichæans in the writings of that age. The western emperors, including Honorius and Valentinian III, issued laws against the Manichæans, whom they declared to be political offenders, and took severe action against the members of this sect (Codex Theodosian, XVI, V, various laws).

Augustine of Hippo early Christian theologian and philosopher

Saint Augustine of Hippo was a Roman African, early Christian theologian and philosopher from Numidia whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius in North Africa and is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Period. Among his most important works are The City of God, De doctrina Christiana, and Confessions.

Priscillianism is a Christian belief system developed in the Iberian Peninsula in the 4th century by Priscillian. It is derived from the Gnostic-Manichaean doctrines taught by Marcus, an Egyptian from Memphis. Priscillianism was later considered a heresy by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

In the East, Siricius interposed to settle the Meletian schism at Antioch; this schism had continued notwithstanding the death in 381 of Meletius at the Council of Constantinople. The followers of Meletius elected Flavian as his successor, while the adherents of Bishop Paulinus, after the death of this bishop (388), elected Evagrius. Evagrius died in 392 and through Flavian's management no successor was elected. By the mediation of St. John Chrysostom and Theophilus of Alexandria an embassy, led by Bishop Acacius of Beroea, was sent to Rome to persuade Siricius to recognize Flavian and to readmit him to communion with the Church. [2]

When the Spanish bishop and ascetic Priscillian, accused by his fellow bishops of heresy, was executed by the emperor Magnus Maximus under the charge of magic, Siricius—along with Ambrose of Milan and Martin of Tours—protested against the verdict to the emperor. [3]

Although sources say that Pope Siricius was the first Bishop of Rome to style himself Pope, [4] other authorities say the title "Pope" was from the early 3rd century an honorific designation used for any bishop in the West. [5] In the East it was used only for the Bishop of Alexandria. [5] Pope Marcellinus (d. 304) is the first Bishop of Rome shown in sources to have had the title "Pope" used of him. From the 6th century, the imperial chancery of Constantinople normally reserved this designation for the Bishop of Rome. [5] From the early 6th century, it began to be confined in the West to the Bishop of Rome, a practice that was firmly in place by the 11th century. [5]

Siricius is also one of the Popes presented in various sources as having been the first to bear the title Pontifex Maximus. Others that are said to have been the first to bear the title are Pope Callistus I, Pope Damasus I, Pope Leo I, and Pope Gregory I. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church indicates instead that it was in the fifteenth century (when the Renaissance stirred up new interest in ancient Rome) that "Pontifex Maximus" became a regular title of honour for Popes. [6]

Siricius is buried in the basilica of San Silvestro. [3] His feast day is 26 November.

See also

Related Research Articles

First Council of Constantinople synod

The First Council of Constantinople was a council of Christian bishops convened in Constantinople in AD 381 by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. This second ecumenical council, an effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom, except for the Western Church, confirmed the Nicene Creed, expanding the doctrine thereof to produce the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and dealt with sundry other matters. It met from May to July 381 in the Church of Hagia Irene and was affirmed as ecumenical in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon.

<i>Liber Pontificalis</i> Book of biographies of popes

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."

Pope Marcellus I pope

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 380s decade ran from January 1, 380, to December 31, 389.

Year 381 (CCCLXXXI) was a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Syagrius and Eucherius. The denomination 381 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.

399 Year

Year 399 (CCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Eutropius and Theodorus. The denomination 399 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.

384 Year

Year 384 (CCCLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Ricomer and Clearchus. The denomination 384 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for giving names to years.

Pope Hilarius pope

Pope Hilarius was Pope from 19 November 461 to his death in 468.

Pope Clement I 4th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Clement I, also known as Saint Clement of Rome, is listed by Irenaeus and Tertullian as Bishop of Rome, holding office from 88 to his death in 99. He is considered to be the first Apostolic Father of the Church, one of the three chief ones together with Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch.

Pontifex maximus The chief high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient Rome

The Pontifex Maximus was the chief high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post. A distinctly religious office under the early Roman Republic, it gradually became politicized until, beginning with Augustus, it was subsumed into the Imperial office. Its last use with reference to the emperors is in inscriptions of Gratian who, however, then decided to omit the words "pontifex maximus" from his title. Although in fact the most powerful office of Roman priesthood, the pontifex maximus was officially ranked fifth in the ranking of the highest Roman priests, behind the rex sacrorum and the flamines maiores.

A pontiff was, in Roman antiquity, a member of the most illustrious of the colleges of priests of the Roman religion, the College of Pontiffs. The term "pontiff" was later applied to any high or chief priest and, in Roman Catholic ecclesiastical usage, to a bishop and more particularly to the Bishop of Rome, the Pope or "Roman Pontiff".

Flavian I of Antioch was a bishop or Patriarch of Antioch from 381 until his death.

Meletius of Antioch patriarch of Antioch

Saint Meletius of Antioch (Μελέτιος) was a Christian bishop, or Patriarch of Antioch, from 360 until his death. There were contrasting views about his theological position: on the one hand, he was exiled three times under Arian emperors; on the other, he was strongly opposed by those faithful to the memory of the staunchly pro-Nicene Eustathius of Antioch, whom the synod of Melitene deposed for his Homousianism, which they considered a heresy, and by Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, the firm opponent of Arianism. One of his last acts was to preside over the First Council of Constantinople in 381.

Directa Decretal

The Directa decretal was written by Pope Siricius in February AD 385. It took the form of a long letter to Spanish bishop Himerius of Tarragona replying to the bishop’s requests for directa on various subjects sent several months earlier to Pope Damasus I. It became the first of a series of documents published by the Magisterium that claimed apostolic origin for clerical celibacy and reminded ministers of the altar of the perpetual continence required of them.

Evagrius of Antioch was a claimant to the See of Antioch from 388 to 392. He succeeded Paulinus and had the support of the Eustathian party, and was a rival to Flavian during the so-called Meletian schism.

References

  1. The date in December—15, 22, or 29—is uncertain. Annuario Pontificio (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2012 ISBN   978-88-209-8722-0), p. 9.
  2. 1 2 3 Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Pope St. Siricius." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 29 September 2017
  3. 1 2 3 "The 38th Pope", Spirituality for Today, Diocese of Bridgeport
  4. Bettenson, Henry; Maunder, Chris (2011). Documents of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press. p. 88. ISBN   9780199568987.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN   978-0-19-280290-3), article Pope
  6. Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN   978-0-19-280290-3), article Pontifex Maximus

PD-icon.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope St. Siricius". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton.

Titles of the Great Christian Church
Preceded by
Damasus I
Pope
384–399
Succeeded by
Anastasius I