Pope Silverius (died 2 December 538) ruled the Holy See from 8 June 536 to his deposition in 538, a few months before his death. His rapid rise to prominence from a deacon to the papacy coincided the efforts of Ostrogothic king Theodahad (nephew to Theodoric the Great), who intended to install a pro-Gothic candidate just before the Gothic War. Later deposed by Byzantine general Belisarius, he was tried and sent to exile on the desolated island of Palmarola, where he starved to death in 538.
|Papacy began||8 June 536|
|Papacy ended||March 538|
|Died||2 December 538|
Palmarola, Kingdom of the Ostrogoths
|Feast day||20 June|
|Papal styles of|
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
He was a legitimate son of Pope Hormisdas, born in Frosinone, Lazio, some time before his father entered the priesthood. Silverius was probably consecrated 8 June 536. He was a subdeacon when king Theodahad of the Ostrogoths forced his election and consecration. Historian Jeffrey Richards interprets his low rank prior to becoming pope as an indication that Theodahad was eager to put a pro-Gothic candidate on the throne on the eve of the Gothic War and "had passed over the entire diaconate as untrustworthy". The Liber Pontificalis alleges that Silverius had purchased his elevation from King Theodahad.
On 9 December 536, the Byzantine general Belisarius entered Rome with the approval of Pope Silverius. Theodahad's successor Witiges gathered together an army and besieged Rome for several months, subjecting the city to privation and starvation. In the words of Richards, "What followed is as tangled a web of treachery and double-dealing as can be found anywhere in the papal annals. Several different versions of the course of events following the elevation of Silverius exist." In outline, all accounts agree: Silverius was deposed by Belisarius in March 538 and sent into exile after being judged by the wife of Belisarius, Antonina, who accused him of conspiring with the Goths. Not only did Belisarius exile Silverius, he also banished a number of distinguished senators, Flavius Maximus—a descendant of a previous emperor—among them. Vigilius, who was in Constantinople as apocrisiarius or papal legate, was brought to Rome to replace Silverius as the pontiff.
The fullest account is in the Breviarium of Liberatus of Carthage, who portrays Vigilius "as a greedy and treacherous pro-Monophysite who ousted and virtually murdered his predecessor." In exchange for being made Pope, Liberatus claims he promised Empress Theodora to restore the former patriarch of Constantinople Anthimus to his position. Silverius was sent into exile at Patara in Lycia, whose bishop petitioned the emperor for a fair trial for Silverius. Rattled by this, Justinian ordered Silverius returned to Rome to be tried accordingly. However, when Silverius returned to Italy, instead of holding a trial Belisarius handed him over to Vigilius, who according to The Liber Pontificalis banished Silverius to the desolate island Palmarola (part of the Pontine Islands), where he starved to death a few months later.
The account in the Liber Pontificalis is hardly more favorable to Vigilius. That work agrees with Liberatus that the restoration of Anthimus to the Patriarchate was the cause of Silverius' deposition, but Vigilius was initially sent to persuade Silverius to agree to this, not replace him. Silverius refused and Vigilius then claimed to Belisarius that Pope Silverius had written to Witiges offering to betray the city. Belisarius did not believe this accusation, but Vigilius produced false witnesses to testify to this, and through persistence overcame his scruples. Silverius was summoned to the Pincian palace, where he was stripped of his vestments and handed over to Vigilius, who dispatched him into exile. Procopius omits all mention of religious controversy in Vigilius' actions. He writes that Silverius was accused of offering to betray Rome to the Goths. Upon learning of this, Belisarius had him deposed, put in a monk's habit and exiled to Greece. Several other senators were also banished from Rome at the same time on similar charges. Belisarius then appointed Vigilius. Deprived of sufficient sustenance, Silverius starved to death on the island of Palmarola.
Richards attempts to reconcile these divergent accounts into a unified account. He points out that Liberatus wrote his Breviarium at the height of the Three-Chapter Controversy, "when Vigilius was being regarded by his opponents as anti-Christ and Liberatus was prominent among these opponents", and the Liber Pontificalis drew from an account written at the same time. Once these religious elements are removed, Richards argues that it is clear "the whole episode was political in nature." He points out for Justinian's plans to recover Rome and Italy, "that there should be a pro-Eastern pope substituted as soon as possible. The ideal candidate was at hand in Constantinople. The deacon Vigilius' principal motivation throughout his career, as far as can be ascertained, was the desire to be pope and he was not really concerned about which faction put him there."
Pope Silverius was later recognized as a saint by popular acclamation, and is now the patron saint of the island of Ponza, Italy. The first mention of his name in a list of saints dates to the 11th century. He is also called Saint Silverius (San Silverio). While Pope Silverius perished without fanfare and largely unlamented during the 6th century, the people from the neighboring island of Ponza have honored the virtuous St. Silverio, a heritage the reaches from the island to the United States, where many settlers from the island have carried settled in the Morisania section of the Bronx. From there, they celebrate the Festival of San Silverio at Our Lady of Pity Church on 151st Street and Morris Avenue, just as they have for centuries, calling on him for help. According to Ponza Islands legend, fishermen were in a small boat in a storm off Palmarola and they called on Saint Silverius for help. An apparition of Saint Silverius called them to Palmarola, where they survived. This miracle made him venerated as a saint.
|Catholic Church titles|
Year 537 (DXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Second year after the Consulship of Belisarius (or, less frequently, year 1290 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 537 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.Antonina (wife of Belisarius)
Antonina (Greek: Ἀντωνίνα, c. 495 – after 565) was a Byzantine patrikia and wife of the general Belisarius. Her influence over her husband was great; Procopius features her as dominating Belisarius. The historian Paolo Cesaretti mentions her as a controversial figure and the "right arm" of the empress Theodora in the exercise of power.Belisarius
Flavius Belisarius (Greek: Φλάβιος Βελισάριος, c. 500 – 565) was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian I's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century before.
One of the defining features of Belisarius's career was his success despite varying levels of support from Justinian. His name is frequently given as one of the so-called "Last of the Romans".
Belisarius is considered a military genius who conquered the Vandal Kingdom of North Africa in the Vandalic War in nine months from July 533 to March 534. He defeated the Vandal armies at the battles of Ad Decimum and Tricamarum and compelled the Vandal king Gelimer to surrender. After the conquest of North Africa, Belisarius took over most of Italy from the Ostrogothic Kingdom in a series of sieges between 535 and 540 during the Gothic War.Cesare Maccari
Cesare Maccari (Italian pronunciation: [ˈtʃeːzare makˈkaːri; ˈtʃɛː-]; 9 May 1840 – 7 August 1919) was an Italian painter and sculptor, most famous for his 1888 painting Cicerone denuncia Catalina (usually translated as Cicero Accuses Catiline or Cicero Denounces Catiline).Christianity in the 6th century
In 6th-century Christianity, Roman Emperor Justinian launched a military campaign in Constantinople to reclaim the western provinces from the Germans, starting with North Africa and proceeding to Italy. Though he was temporarily successful in recapturing much of the western Mediterranean he destroyed the urban centers and permanently ruined the economies in much of the West. Rome and other cities were abandoned. In the coming centuries the Western Church, as virtually the only surviving Roman institution in the West, became the only remaining link to Greek culture and civilization.
In the East, Roman imperial rule continued through the period historians now call the Byzantine Empire. Even in the West, where imperial political control gradually declined, distinctly Roman culture continued long afterwards; thus historians today prefer to speak of a "transformation of the Roman world" rather than a "Fall of Rome." The advent of the Early Middle Ages was a gradual and often localised process whereby, in the West, rural areas became power centres whilst urban areas declined. Although the greater number of Christians remained in the East, the developments in the West would set the stage for major developments in the Christian world during the later Middle Ages.Deacon
A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Some Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state; in others, the deacon remains a layperson.
The word deacon is derived from the Greek word diákonos (διάκονος), which is a standard ancient Greek word meaning "servant", "waiting-man", "minister", or "messenger". One commonly promulgated speculation as to its etymology is that it literally means "through the dust", referring to the dust raised by the busy servant or messenger.It is generally assumed that the office of deacon originated in the selection of seven men by the apostles, among them Stephen, to assist with the charitable work of the early church as recorded in Acts 6.The title deaconess (διακόνισσα diakónissa) is not found in the Bible. However, one woman, Phoebe, is mentioned at Romans 16:1–2 as a deacon (διάκονος diákonos) of the church in Cenchreae. Nothing more specific is said about her duties or authority, although it is assumed she carried Paul's Letter to the Romans. The exact relationship between male and female deacons varies. In some traditions a female deacon is simply a member of the order of deacons, while in others, deaconesses constitute a separate order. In some traditions, the title "deaconess" was also sometimes given to the wife of a deacon.
Female deacons are mentioned by Pliny the Younger in a letter to the emperor Trajan dated c. 112. “I believed it was necessary to find out from two female slaves (ex duabus ancillis) who were called deacons (ministrae), what was true—and to find out through torture (per tormenta)”This is the earliest Latin text that appears to refer to female deacons as a distinct category of Christian minister.A biblical description of the qualities required of a deacon, and of his household, can be found in 1 Timothy 3:1–13.
Among the more prominent deacons in history are Stephen, the first Christian martyr (the "protomartyr"); Philip, whose baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch is recounted in Acts 8:26–40; St. Phoebe, who is mentioned in the letter to the Romans; Saint Lawrence, an early Roman martyr; Saint Vincent of Saragossa, protomartyr of Spain; Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of the mendicant Franciscans; Saint Ephrem the Syrian; and Saint Romanos the Melodist, a prominent early hymnographer. Prominent historical figures who played major roles as deacons and went on to higher office include Athanasius of Alexandria, Thomas Becket, and Reginald Pole. On June 8, 536, a serving Roman deacon was raised to Pope, Silverius.
The title is also used for the president, chairperson, or head of a trades guild in Scotland; and likewise to two officers of a Masonic lodge.December 2
December 2 is the 336th day of the year (337th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 29 days remain until the end of the year.December 2 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
December 1 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - December 3
All fixed commemorations below celebrated on December 15 by Eastern Orthodox Churches on the Old Calendar.For December 2nd, Orthodox Churches on the Old Calendar commemorate the Saints listed on November 19.June 20
June 20 is the 171st day of the year (172nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 194 days remain until the end of the year.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Summer solstice sometimes occurs on this date, while the Winter solstice occurs in the Southern Hemisphere.Liber Pontificalis
The Liber Pontificalis (Latin for 'pontifical book' or Book of the Popes) 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 (who compiled the major scholarly edition), 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."The title Liber Pontificalis goes back to the 12th century, although it only became current in the 15th century, and the canonical title of the work since the edition of Duchesne in the 19th century. In the earliest extant manuscripts it is referred to as Liber episcopalis in quo continentur acta beatorum pontificum Urbis Romae ('episcopal book in which are contained the acts of the blessed pontiffs of the city of Rome') and later the Gesta or Chronica pontificum.List of canonised popes
This article lists the Popes who have been canonised or recognised as Saints in the Roman Catholic Church they had led. A total of 83 (out of 266) Popes have been recognised universally as canonised saints, including all of the first 35 Popes (31 of whom were martyrs) and 52 of the first 54. If Pope Liberius is numbered amongst the Saints as in Eastern Christianity, all of the first 49 Popes become recognised as Saints, of whom 31 are Martyr-Saints, and 53 of the first 54 Pontiffs would be acknowledged as Saints. In addition, 13 other Popes are in the process of becoming canonised Saints: as of December 2018, two are recognised as being Servants of God, two are recognised as being Venerable, and nine have been declared Blessed or Beati, making a total of 95 (97 if Pope Liberius and Pope Adeodatus II are recognised to be Saints) of the 266 Roman Pontiffs being recognised and venerated for their heroic virtues and inestimable contributions to the Church.
The most recently reigning Pope to have been canonised was Pope John Paul II, whose cause for canonisation was opened in May 2005. John Paul II was beatified on May 1, 2011, by Pope Benedict XVI and later canonised, along with Pope John XXIII, by Pope Francis on April 27, 2014. Pope Francis also canonised Pope Paul VI on October 14, 2018.List of sexually active popes
This is a list of sexually active popes, Catholic priests who were not celibate before they became pope, and popes who were legally married. Some candidates were sexually active before their election as pope, and others were accused of being sexually active during their papacies. A number had offspring. The Second Lateran Council (1139) made the promise to remain celibate a prerequisite to ordination, abolishing any sanctioned married priesthood; something which had been tolerated in the early days of the Church. Such relationships were generally undertaken therefore outside the bond of matrimony and each sexual act thus committed is considered a mortal sin by the Roman Catholic Church.
There are various classifications for those who were sexually active at some time during their lives. Periods in parentheses refer to the years of their papacies.Ostrogothic Papacy
The Ostrogothic Papacy was a period from 493 to 537 where the papacy was strongly influenced by the Ostrogothic Kingdom, if the pope was not outright appointed by the Ostrogothic King. The selection and administration of popes during this period was strongly influenced by Theodoric the Great and his successors Athalaric and Theodahad. This period terminated with Justinian I's (re)conquest of Rome during the Gothic War (535–554), inaugurating the Byzantine Papacy (537-752).
According to Howorth, "while they were not much interfered with in their administrative work, so long as they did not themselves interfere with politics, the Gothic kings meddled considerably in the selection of the new popes and largely dominated their election. Simony prevailed to a scandalous extent, as did intrigues of a discreditable kind, and the quality and endowments of the candidates became of secondary importance in their chances of being elected, compared with their skill in corrupting the officials of the foreign kings and in their powers of chicane." According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "[Theodoric] was tolerant towards the Catholic Church and did not interfere in dogmatic matters. He remained as neutral as possible towards the pope, though he exercised a preponderant influence in the affairs of the papacy."Palmarola
Palmarola is a craggy, mostly uninhabited island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the west coast of Italy. It is the second largest of the Pontine Islands and located about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) west from Ponza.
Palmarola has an extremely rocky coast dotted with natural grottos, bays, cliffs, and crags. The island is primarily a nature reserve, but there are a handful of ports where boats can land and several restaurants that cater to tourists during the summer season. A few small beaches exist.
The famous French explorer and oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau appointed Palmarola as "The most Beautiful Island in the Mediterranean Sea"Pope Silverius was exiled to and died on Palmarola in 538.Papal selection before 1059
There was no fixed process for papal selection before 1059. Popes, the bishops of Rome and the leaders of the Catholic Church, were often appointed by their predecessors or secular rulers. While the process was often characterized by some capacity of election, an election with the meaningful participation of the laity was the exception to the rule, especially as the popes' claims to temporal power solidified into the Papal States. The practice of papal appointment during this period would later give rise to the jus exclusivae, a veto right exercised by Catholic monarchies into the twentieth century.
The lack of an institutionalized process for papal succession was prone to religious schism, and several papal claimants before 1059 are currently regarded by the Church as antipopes. Furthermore, the frequent requirement of secular approval of elected popes significantly lengthened periods of sede vacante and weakened the papacy. In 1059, Pope Nicholas II succeeded in limiting future papal electors to the cardinals with In nomine Domini, creating standardized papal elections that would eventually evolve into the papal conclave.Ponza, Lazio
Ponza is a comune (municipality) of the Province of Latina in the Italian region Lazio. It comprises the four islands of the western part of the Pontine archipelago in the Gulf of Gaeta (central Tyrrhenian Sea): Ponza itself, Palmarola, Zannone, and Gavi. The economy of Ponza is essentially based on fishing and summer tourism.Pope Vigilius
Pope Vigilius (d. 7 June 555) was Pope from 29 March 537 to his death in 555. He is considered the first pope of the Byzantine Papacy.Santa Maria in Trivio
Santa Maria in Trivio is a church in Rome. It is dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, and is located on Piazza dei Crociferi in rione Trevi. It is near the Fountain of Trevi.
In Mariano Vasi's 19th-century guidebook, the church is referred to as Santa Maria a Trevi. According to tradition, the church was founded by the Byzantine general Belisarius in the 6th century. Allegedly, he found the church to expiate for deposing Pope Silverius in 537. Previously the church had been known as Santa Maria in Fornica. This was recorded in an 11th-century inscription on the wall of the church.In 1571 the church was given to the Order of the Crociferi. Between 1573 and 1575 the architect Giacomo del Duca rebuilt the church, designing e.g. the innovative pediment above the entrance door.
The crucifix in the chapel was decorated by Giovanni Francesco Bolognese. The altarpiece of St Camillo de Lellis was painted by Gasparo Serenari. The main altarpiece was painted by Bartolommeo Morelli. Other altarpieces in side altars were by the studio of Palma il Giovane, Luigi Scaramuccia, and Pietro Perugino. The ceiling was painted by Antonio Gherardi.Siege of Rome (537–538)
The First Siege of Rome during the Gothic War lasted for a year and nine days, from 2 March 537 to 12 March 538. The city was besieged by the Ostrogothic army under their king Vitiges; the defending East Romans were commanded by Belisarius, one of the most famous and successful Roman generals. The siege was the first major encounter between the forces of the two opponents, and played a decisive role in the subsequent development of the war.
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
|History of the papacy|