- Pope Siricius
26 November 399
deathplace=| infobox popestyles
papal name=Pope Siricius
Pope Saint Siricius,
Bishop of Romefrom December 384 (the date in December, 15 or 22 or 29, is uncertain) [Annuario Pontificio (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2008 ISBN 978-88-209-8021-4), p. 9*] until his death on 26 November 399, was successor to Damasus I and was himself succeeded by Anastasius I.
Siricius was elected Bishop of Rome unanimously, despite attempts by the Antipope Ursinus' to promote himself. He was an active Pope, involved in the administration of the Church, and the handling of various factions and viewpoints within it. He was the first pope to issue
decretals, the first of which was the Directa Decretalsent to Himerius of Tarragona. He was the author of two decrees concerning clerical celibacy.
When the Spanish bishop and ascetic
Priscillian, accused by his fellow bishops of heresy, was executed by the emperor Magnus Maximusunder the charge of magic, Siricus - along with Ambroseof Milanand Martin of Tours- protested against this verdict.
His feast day is
Although the Website [http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/history/papacy.htm Religion Facts] says that Pope Siricius was the first Bishop of Rome to style himself
Pope, more weighty resources say that the title of Pope was from the early third century used for "any" bishop in the West. It seems that in the East it was used only for the Bishop of Alexandria, but the imperial chancery of Constantinople normally reserved it for the Bishop of Rome. From the sixth century it began to be confined in the West to the Bishop of Rome, a practice that was firmly in place by the eleventh century. [Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article "Pope"]
Siricius, again, is 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, Pope Gregory I. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church says instead that it was in the fifteenth century (when the Renaissancestirred up new interest in ancient Rome) that " Pontifex Maximus" became a regular title of honour for Popes. [Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article "Pontifex Maximus"]
* [http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/01_01_0384-0399-_Siricius,_Sanctus.html Opera Omnia by Migne Patrologia Latina]
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