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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Papacy began December 384
Papacy ended 26 November 399
Predecessor Damasus I
Successor Anastasius I
Personal details
Birth name Siricius
Died November 26, 399
Papal styles of
Pope Siricius

Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg

Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style Saint

Pope Saint Siricius, Bishop of Rome from December 384 (the date in December, 15 or 22 or 29, is uncertain)[1] 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 Decretal sent 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 Maximus under the charge of magic, Siricus - along with Ambrose of Milan and Martin of Tours - protested against this verdict.

His feast day is 26 November.

Although the Website Religion Facts says that Pope Siricius was the first Bishop of Rome to style himself Pope, competing sources 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.[2]

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 Renaissance stirred up new interest in ancient Rome) that "Pontifex Maximus" became a regular title of honour for Popes.[3]


  1. ^ Annuario Pontificio (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2008 ISBN 978-88-209-8021-4), p. 9*
  2. ^ Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article Pope
  3. ^ Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article Pontifex Maximus

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Damasus I
Succeeded by
Anastasius I

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SIRICIUS, pope from December 384 to November 399, successor of Damasus. Siricius was averse from countenancing the influence of the monks, and did not treat Jerome with the favour with which he had been honoured by preceding popes, with the result that Jerome left Rome and settled at Bethlehem. Some years later, however, Siricius condemned the anti-ascetic doctrines of Jovinianus. Several of the decretal letters of Siricius are extant, in which, at the request of certain groups of Western bishops, he sets forth the rules of ecclesiastical discipline. It was under his pontificate that a general council was convened at Capua in 391, at which various Eastern affairs were brought forward. Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, at the request of Siricius, had two important disputes settled by two councils held in 393 at Caesarea and Contantinople, relating respectively to the sees of Antioch and Bostra. The council of Capua, inspired by the pope, deferred to the council of Macedonia the affair of Bonosus, bishop of Sardinia, who had been accused of heresy. To safeguard the authority of the Holy See over the bishops of Illyricum, Siricius entrusted his powers to the bishop of Thessalonica, who was henceforth the vicar of the pope in those provinces. In 386 Siricius had protested against the attitude of Bishop Ithacius, the accuser of Priscillian, and this protest he resolutely maintained, although he disapproved of the doctrines taught by the Spanish doctor. It was during his pontificate that the last attempt to revive paganism in Rome was made (392-394) by Nicomachus Flavianus. Siricius died on the 26th of November 399. (L. D.*)

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