|Bishop of Rome|
|Papacy began||December 384|
|Papacy ended||26 November 399|
|Died||26 November 399|
|Feast day||26 November|
Pope Siricius (334 – 26 November 399) was the bishop of Rome from December 384to his death. In response to inquiries from Bishop Himerius of Tarragona, Siricius issued the Directa decretal, containing decrees of baptism, church discipline and other matters. His are the oldest completely preserved papal decretals. He is sometimes said to have been the first bishop of Rome to call himself pope.
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.
After the death of Damasus I, Siricius was elected pope unanimously, despite attempts by Ursinus to promote himself. Emperor Valentinian II's confirmation of his election stilled any further objections.Siricius 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 Bishop Himerius of Tarragona, he issued the Directa decretal, containing 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.
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).
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.
When the Spanish bishop and ascetic Priscillian, accused by his fellow bishops of heresy, was executed by 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.
Siricius is sometimes said to be the first bishop of Rome to style himself pope,but other authorities say the title pope was from the early 3rd century an honorific designation used for any bishop in the West. In the East it was used only for the patriarch of Alexandria. 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. 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.
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 Callistus I, Damasus I, Leo I, and 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.
Siricius died on 26 November 399 and was succeeded by Anastasius I. He is buried in the basilica of San Silvestro.His feast day is 26 November.
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.
Pope Damasus I was the bishop of Rome from October 366 to his death. 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 Jerome. He helped reconcile the relations between the Church of Rome and the Church of Antioch, and encouraged the veneration of martyrs.
Pope Marcellus I was the bishop of Rome from May or June 308 to his death. He succeeded 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 Eusebius. His relics are under the altar of San Marcello al Corso in Rome. His third-class feast day is kept on 16 January.
Pope Pius I was the bishop of Rome from c. 140 to his death c. 154, according to the Annuario Pontificio. His dates are listed as 142 or 146 to 157 or 161, respectively. He is considered to have opposed both the Valentinians and Gnostics during his papacy. He is considered a saint by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church with a feast day in 11 July, but it is unclear if he died as a martyr.
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.
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.
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.
Leo I, also known as Leo the Great, was Bishop of Rome from 29 September 440 until his death. Pope Benedict XVI said that Leo's papacy "was undoubtedly one of the most important in the Church's history."
Pope Hilarius was the bishop of Rome from 19 November 461 to his death on 29 February 468.
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.
Gratian was Roman emperor from 367 to 383. The eldest son of Valentinian I, Gratian accompanied his father on several campaigns along the Rhine and Danube frontiers and was raised to the rank of augustus in 367. Upon the death of Valentinian in 375, Gratian took over government of the west while his half-brother Valentinian II was also acclaimed emperor in Pannonia. Gratian governed the western provinces of the empire, while his uncle Valens was already the emperor over the east.
Priscillian was a wealthy nobleman of Roman Hispania who promoted a strict form of Christian asceticism. He became bishop of Ávila in 380. Certain practices of his followers were denounced at the Council of Zaragoza in 380. Tensions between Priscillian and bishops opposed to his views continued, as well as political maneuvering by both sides. Around 385, Priscillian was charged with sorcery and executed by authority of the Emperor Maximus. The ascetic movement Priscillianism is named after him, and continued in Hispania and Gaul until the late 6th century. Tractates by Priscillian and close followers, which had seemed lost, were discovered in 1885 and published in 1889.
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. 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".
St. Flavian I of Antioch was a bishop or Patriarch of Antioch from 381 until his death.
Saint Meletius was a Christian bishop of Antioch from 360 until his death in 381. He was opposed by a rival bishop named Paulinus and his episcopate was dominated by the schism, usually called the Meletian schism. As a result, he was exiled from Antioch in 361–362, 365–366 and 371–378. One of his last acts was to preside over the First Council of Constantinople in 381.
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.
Himerius of Tarragona was bishop of Tarragona during the 4th century.
The doctrines of Petrine primacy and papal primacy are perhaps the most contentiously disputed in the history of Christianity. Theologians regard the doctrine of papal primacy as having gradually developed in the West due to the convergence of a number of factors, e.g., the dignity of Rome as the only apostolic see in the West; the tradition that both Peter and Paul had been martyred there; Rome's long history as a capital of the Roman Empire; and its continuing position as the chief center of commerce and communication.
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 Company.
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