|Pope Saint Siricius|
|Papacy began||December 384|
|Papacy ended||26 November 399|
|Died||26 November 399|
|Feast day||26 November|
|Papal styles of
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Siricius (Italian: Siricio; 334 – 26 November 399) was pope from December 384 until his death on 26 November 399. He was successor to Pope Damasus I and was himself succeeded by Pope 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. The decree of 385 stated that priests should stop cohabiting with their wives.
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 sources say that Pope Siricius was the first Bishop of Rome to style himself Pope, 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 Bishop of Alexandria. Pope 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, when Pope Gregory VII declared it reserved for the Bishop of Rome.
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 Pope Callistus I, Pope Damasus I, Pope Leo I, and Pope 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.
- The date in December—15, 22, or 29—is uncertain. Annuario Pontificio (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2012 ISBN 978-88-209-8722-0), p. 9.
- "Pope St. Siricius". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Bettenson, Henry; Maunder, Chris (2011). Documents of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press. p. 88. ISBN 9780199568987.
- Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article Pope
- Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article Pontifex Maximus
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