Apiarius of Sicca

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Apiarius of Sicca was an African priest convicted by the Bishops of Africa of numerous unspecified crimes in the early 5th century AD, and excommunicated by Bishop Urbanus of Sicca Veneria. In 418 Apiarius appealed his convictions directly to Pope Zosimus (Term of Office: March 417 - December 418) by-passing the African Bishops appeals system. Pope Zosimus, citing the Nicene Canons, sent legates to assess the charges. The Canon citation: "When a bishop thinks he has been unjustly deposed by his colleagues he may appeal to Rome, and the Roman bishop shall have the business decided by judices in partibus"; was not of the Nicene Canons, but rather part of the Sardica Canons. The Bishops of Africa, not finding the statement in their copies of Nicene Canons, sought copies of the Nicene Canons from the Archbishops of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch.

Pope Boniface I (Term of Office: December 418 - 423) took over the appeal by Apiarius of Sicca in 418 at the death of Pope Zosimus. In 419 the Bishops of Africa sent the copies of the Nicene Canons obtained from Alexandria and Constantinople to justify their position that the Nicene Canons did not permit Pope Zosimus actions.

The controversy over the right of a bishop to appeal directly to Rome outlasted Pope Boniface and was still the subject of correspondence during the term of Celestine I (Term of Office: 423 - 432), successor to Boniface. The disposition of the appeal of Apiarius of Sicca is not known.

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 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Apiarius of Sicca". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.