Popes in a Year
#38 - Pope St. Siricius
Pope from 384-399 A.D.
Died: 399 A.D.
Give me the scoop on Siricius.
Born in Rome around 334, Siricius spent time prior to becoming pope as a cleric under his two predecessors, Liberius and Damasus I. He was elected in a landslide in December 384, but unfortunately it was his election that caused St. Jerome to say, “we’re no longer friends” and move to the East for the remainder of his life. Turns out Jerome had favored a candidate who was more ascetic (a monk, basically), so when Siricius was elected instead, Jerome left and remained hostile to the pope for this and other reasons, (for which Siricius was not at fault). It's okay though...they probably reconciled in heaven. Siricius died on November 26, 399.
What was he known for?
St. Siricius was a
busy pope. For starters, he condemned the heresy of Priscillianism (a new spin on Gnosticism), sanctioned Jovinian for saying celibacy wasn’t all that great (spiritually speaking), and denounced a bishop in the Balkans for saying Joseph and Mary had a bunch of other kids. He also was responsible for definitively deciding rules for a bunch of different things in a series of letters (called “decretals”), like celibacy for clergy, baptism, church discipline, and penance - exercising (on purpose) his position as supreme authority over the Church in doing so.
The basilica that stands over the tomb of St. Paul in Rome is there thanks to St. Siricius and the Roman emperor. Built during his pontificate, Siricius dedicated the newly-rebuilt church in 390. Interestingly enough, Siricius’ name can still be seen on one of its pillars, having survived an 1823 fire.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In 397, St. Ambrose, the great archbishop of Milan who had risen to prominence as a solid civil leader prior to his appointment, died after 23 years in office.
Coming tomorrow....Pope St. Anastasius I
SOURCES (and further reading)
- John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
- Pope St. Siricius -
- Pope Siricius -
- 390s -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Wednesday, February 22 at 2:00AM