lundi 30 novembre 2015

Saint SAPOR (SHAPUR) de BETH-NICTOR, évêque et martyr, saint ISAAC, évêque et martyr, et leurs Compagnons, martyrs

Saint Sapor de Beth-Nictor

Évêque perse martyr sous Shapur II

Fête le 30 novembre

† 339

Groupe « Sapor, Isaac et compagnons »

Autre graphie : Sapor ou Shapur

Les évêques Sapor de Beth-Nictor et Isaac de Beth-Séleucie souffrirent le martyre sous la persécution de Châhpuhr II, roi de Perse (310-379). Isaac fut lapidé et Sapor mourut sous la torture. Trois autres chrétiens furent exécutés en même temps qu’eux : Mahanès, Abraham et Siméon.

Saint Sapor

Also known as
  • Shapur

Bishop of Beth-Nictor, he was known for the number of converts he brought to the faith. Denounced for interfering with the Persian star worship, and suspected of treasonous collaboration with Roman authorities, he was arrested in 339. Tried before King Shapur II, they were given the chance to save themselves by denouncing their faith; they declined. Martyr.


Sapor (Shapur), Isaac & Comps. BM (AC)

Died 339. Bishop Sapor of Beth-Nictor and Bishop Isaac of Beth-Seleucia were martyred with members of their flock under the Persian King Shapur II, including Saints Mahanes, Abraham, and Simeon. Sapor died in prison; Isaac was stoned to death.

Their genuine acta have been preserved in Chaldaic, which relate that the Persians complained to the king that they could no longer worship the heavenly bodies or the elements without the Christians despising them. Shapur immediately ordered the arrest of all the followers of Christ. Mahanes, Abraham, and Simeon were the first to be captured. When the king learned that Sapor and Isaac were building churches and evangelizing the people in distant outposts, he sent soldiers to track them down and bring them to trial within three days.

The day after their capture, all five were brought before the king, who inquired: "Have not you heard that I derive my pedigree from the gods? Yet I sacrifice to the sun, and pay divine honors to the moon. And who are you who resist my laws, and despise the sun and fire?"

The martyrs with one voice answered: "We acknowledge one God, and Him alone we worship."

The king asked: "What God is better than Hormisdatas, or stronger than the angry Armanes? And who is ignorant that the sun is to be worshipped."

Sapor replied: "We confess one only God, who made all things, and Jesus Christ born of him."

At this the king commanded that he should be beaten on the mouth; all the bishop's teeth were knocked out. Then he was beaten with clubs, until his whole body was bruised and his bones broken. After this he was loaded with chains.

Isaac appeared next. The king scolded him for having built churches; but the martyr maintained the cause of Christ with inflexible constancy. The king next commanded that several of the chief men of the city who had apostatized be summoned. With threats he cowed them into stoning Bishop Isaac to death.

When Saint Sapor heard of Isaace happy martyrdom, he was exultant and died of his wounds two days later in prison. The king nevertheless severed the bishop's head from his body. The other three were called again to court. Mahanes was flayed from the top of his head to the navel, dying in the process. Abraham's eyes were bored out with a hot iron, and he died of his wounds two days later. Simeon was buried alive and shot through with arrows. The faithful Christians managed to obtain and privately bury the remains of the martyrs (Attwater 2, Benedictines, Coulson, Husenbeth).


November 30

SS. Sapor and Isaac, Bishops, Mahanes, Abraham, and Simeon, Martyrs

IN the thirtieth year of Sapor II., the Magians accused the Christians to the king, with loud complaints, saying: “No longer are we able to worship the sun, nor the air, nor the water, nor the earth: for the Christians despise and insult them.” Sapor, incensed by their discourse against the servants of God, laid aside his intended journey to Aspharesa, and published a severe edict commanding the Christians everywhere to be taken into custody. Mahanes, Abraham, and Simeon were the first who fell into the hands of his messengers. The next day the magians laid a new information before the king, saying: “Sapor, bishop of Beth-Nictor, and Isaac, bishop of Beth-Seleucia, build churches, and seduce many.” 1 The king answered in great wrath: “It is my command that strict search be made to discover the criminals throughout my dominions, and that they be brought to their trials within three days.” The king’s horsemen immediately flew day and night in swift journeys over the kingdom, and brought up the prisoners, whom the magians had particularly accused; and they were thrown into the same prison with the aforesaid confessors. The day after the arrival of this new company of holy champions, Sapor, Isaac, Mahanes, Abraham, and Simeon, were presented to the king, who said to them: “Have not you heard that I derive my pedigree from the gods? yet I sacrifice to the sun, and pay divine honours to the moon. And who are you who resist my laws, and despise the sun and fire?” The martyrs, with one voice, answered: “We acknowledge one God, and Him alone we worship.” Sapor said: “What God is better than Hormisdatas, or stronger than the angry Armanes? and who is ignorant that the sun is to be worshipped.” 2 The holy bishop Sapor replied: “We confess only one God, who made all things, and Jesus Christ born of him.” The king commanded that he should be beaten on the mouth; which order was executed with such cruelty, that all his teeth were knocked out. Then the tyrant ordered him to be beaten with clubs, till his whole body was bruised and his bones broken. After this he was loaded with chains. Isaac appeared next. The king reproached him bitterly for having presumed to build churches; but the martyr maintained the cause of Christ with inflexible constancy. By the king’s command several of the chief men of the city who had embraced the faith, and abandoned it for fear of torments, were sent for, and by threats engaged to carry off the servant of God, and stone him to death. At the news of his happy martyrdom, St. Sapor exulted with holy joy, and expired himself two days after in prison, of his wounds. The barbarous king, nevertheless, to be sure of his death, caused his head to be cut off and brought to him. The other three were then called by him to the bar: and the tyrant finding them no less invincible than those who were gone before them, caused the skin of Mahanes to be flayed from the top of the head to the navel; under which torment he expired. Abraham’s eyes were bored out with a hot iron, in such a manner, that he died of his wounds two days after. Simeon was buried in the earth up to his breast, and shot to death with arrows. The Christians privately interred their bodies. The glorious triumph of these martyrs happened in the year 339. See their genuine Chaldaic acts in Steph. Evod. Assemani, Acta Mart. Orient. t. 1, p. 226.

Note 1. The word Beth in Chaldaic signifies a hill; both these cities being built on hills, and standing in Assyria. [back]

Note 2. From these and other acts of the Persian martyrs it is clear, that besides a good and evil principle, the ancient Persians of the magian sect worshipped the four elements, principally fire, as inferior deities, and that the account which Prideaux, Samuel Clark, and especially Ramsay, have given us of their religion, is defective, and in some essential points entirely false. The laborious Dr. Hyde, who has left a monument of his extensive reading, in his book, On the Religion of the Ancient Persians, shows in what manner Zoroaster purged the Persian superstition of the grosser part of its more ancient idolatry, teaching the unity and immensity of the supreme deity, and regarding fire (which before his time was most grossly worshipped) merely as a minister and instrument of God: but he still retained a more refined worship of it, especially of Mythras or Myhir, the celestial fire of the sun, and he continued to maintain the perennial fire, though he abolished many of the grosser rites which the Persians observed in the worship of it before his time. The Guebres in Persia, a poor and despicable race, are allowed to be descendants of the magians. And the same is granted with regard to the Parsees, that is the ancient Persians, who fled from the swords of the Mahometans, into the neighbouring country of India, where they still pretend to adhere to their old superstitions, though they live amidst the Indian idolaters, and are dispersed as far as the neighbourhood of Surat and Bombay. Their chief moghs or magians, who have the direction of their sacred rites and records, are in India called Dustoors. Mr. Grose, in his voyage to the East Indies, printed at London in 1757, takes notice that the religion or reform of Zoroaster was too uncompounded to satisfy the gross conceptions of the vulgar, and the lucrative views of the Dustoors in succeeding ages after his death: so that it retained not long its original purity. The same author learned from these Parsees, that all the books of Zoroaster were destroyed, (whether by accident, or on purpose he could not be informed,) and that the present capital law-book of this people, called the Zendavastaw, written in the Pehlavi, or old Persian language, was pretended to have been compiled by memory, by Erda-Viraph, one of the chief magians. An abstract or translation of this into the modern Persian, was made by the son of Melik-Shadi, a Dustoor, who lived about two hundred and fifty years ago, and entitled Saud dir, that is, The Hundred Gates. Mr. Grose assures us, that it appears from this abstract that Erda-Viraph greatly adulterated the original doctrine of Zoroaster by interpolations, additions, and foisting in many superstitions. Such as he doubts not, are their not daring to be an instant without their cushee or girdle; their not venturing to pray before the sacred fire without having their mouth covered with a small square flap of linen, lest they should pollute the sacred fire by breathing on it, &c. See ib. p. 355. From this observation we infer that Dr. Hyde and Beausobre, in their account of the ancient magians, lay too great stress upon the customs and tenets of their descendants. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume XI: November. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


Saint CUTHBERT MAYNE, prêtre et martyr

Saint Cuthbert Mayne

Martyr en Angleterre ( 1577)

Originaire du Devonshire, Cuthbert Mayne avait été élevé dans la Communion anglicane. Cet étudiant d'Oxford se convertit au "papisme", alla recevoir le sacerdoce en France puis revint dans la Cornouaille britannique. Il fut arrêté au bout d'un an. Condamné à mort "pour avoir célébré la messe romaine", il fut éventré publiquement sur la grand-place de Launceston (Cornwall).

Il fait partie des Quarante martyrs d'Angleterre et du Pays de Galles qui ont été canonisés en 1970.

À Launceston dans le Devon en Angleterre, l’an 1577, saint Cuthbert Mayne, prêtre et martyr. Ministre anglican, il adhéra à la foi catholique sous l’influence de saint Edmond Campion, fut ordonné prêtre à Douai et exerça son ministère en Cornouailles mais, arrêté au bout d’un an, il fut condamné à mort sous la reine Élisabeth Ière, sous prétexte d’avoir publié une lettre d’indulgence du pape et d’avoir célébré la messe, il fut livré au supplice du gibet, le premier des étudiants du Collège anglais de Douai.

Martyrologe romain


Cuthbert Mayne M (AC)

Born at Youlston (near Barnstaple), Devonshire, England, 1544; died 1577; beatified in 1886; canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales (general feast day is October 25); feast day was November 29.

Saint Cuthbert was raised as a Protestant by his uncle, a schismatic priest. His elementary education was provided at the Barnstaple Grammar School. He himself was ordained a Protestant minister when he was about 19 without an inclination or preparation for the role.

Cuthbert studied at Saint John's, Oxford, where he received his master's degree and met the still-Protestant Saint Edmund Campion. Like many converts to Catholicism, Cuthbert Mayne hesitated out of fear--of rejection by family and friends, of losing his appointments and falling into poverty--although his was convicted of its truth. At the urging of Campion, Mayne became a Catholic in 1570 (age 26) (another source says 1573 at Douai). He was forced to flee England when letters from Campion at Douai were intercepted by the bishop of London, who ordered the arrest of all mentioned in the letter. He went to the English College at Douai, which was founded in 1568, to study for the priesthood. He received his bachelor's degree in theology and was ordained there in 1575. The following year he was sent back to England with Saint John Payne to preach in the mission.

He became estate steward of Francis Tregian at Golden, Cornwall, and was arrested the following year with Tregian after the high sheriff, Richard Grenville searched Tregian's mansion and found Mayne with an agnus Dei around his neck. Mayne was taken to Launceston, thrown into a filthy prison, and chained to the bedpost.

At Launceston assizes during Michelmas, he was found guilty of having obtained from Rome and published at Golden a "faculty containing matter of absolution" of the Queen's subjects. (What they had actually found was an outdated announcement of the jubilee indulgence of 1575 published at Douai.) He was also charged with having celebrated Mass, because they found a missal, chalice, and vestments at Golden. But at the direction of Justice Manwood, after consultation with Grenville, the jury found him guilty of violating statutes 1 and 13 of Elizabeth and sentenced him to death. Several gentlemen, including Tregian, and their three yeomen were charged with abetting Mayne and sentenced to perpetual imprisonment and forfeiture of their property.

The circumstances were such that a majority of the judges of the country, gathered at Serjeants' Inn to reconsider the case, thought the conviction could not stand. But the Privy Council directed that the sentence be executed as a warning to priests coming from the Continent.

The day before his scheduled execution, Mayne was offered his liberty in exchange for his oath that the queen possessed ecclesiastical supremacy. He asked for a Bible, kissed it, and said: "The queen neither ever was nor is nor ever shall be the head of the Church of England." At the marketplace before his execution, Cuthbert Mayne aws not given the opportunity to address the crowd from the scaffold. When invited to implicate Tregian and his brother-in-law, Sir John Arundell, the saint replied: "I know nothing of them except that they are good and pious men; and of the things laid to my charge no one but myself has any knowledge."

Thus, Cuthbert was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Launceston on November 25 on the charge of treason because he was a priest who refused to accept the supremacy of Queen Elizabeth I in ecclesiastical matters. He was cut down before he died, but was probably unconscious before the disembowelling began. He was the first Englishman trained for the priesthood at Douai to be martyred (at that time the penal code distinguished between priests trained on the Continent and those "Marian priests," who had been ordained in England). For this reason, Cuthbert Mayne is the protomartyr of English seminaries. His feast is kept at Plymouth and in several other English dioceses (Attwater, Attwater 2, Benedictines, Delaney, Walsh). 

Blessed Cuthbert Mayne

Martyr, b. at Yorkston, near Barnstaple, Devonshire (baptized 20 March, 1543-4); d. at Launceston, Cornwall, 29 Nov., 1577. He was the son of William Mayne; his uncle was a schismatical priest, who had him educated at Barnstaple Grammar School, and he was ordained a Protestant minister at the age of eighteen or nineteen. He then went to Oxford, first to St. Alban's Hall, then to St. John's College, where he took the degree of M.A. in 1570. He there made the acquaintance of Blessed Edmund Campion, Gregory Martin, the controversialist, Humphrey Ely, Henry Shaw, Thomas Bramston, O.S.B., Henry Holland, Jonas Meredith, Roland Russell, and William Wiggs. The above list shows how strong a Catholic leaven was still working at Oxford. Late in 1570 a letter from Gregory Martin to Blessed Cuthbert fell into the Bishop of London's hands. He at once sent a pursuivant to arrest Blessed Cuthbert and others mentioned in the letter. Blessed Cuthbert was in the country, and being warned by Blessed Thomas Ford, he evaded arrest by going to Cornwall, whence he arrived at Douai in 1573. Having become reconciled to the Church, he was ordained in 1575; in Feb., 1575-6 he took the degree of S.T.B. at Douai University; and on 24 April, 1576 he left for the English mission in the company of Blessed John Payne. Blessed Cuthbert took up his abode with the future confessor, Francis Tregian, of Golden, in St. Probus's parish, Cornwall. This gentleman suffered imprisonment and loss of possessions for this honour done him by our martyr. At his house our martyr was arrested 8 June, 1577, by the high sheriff, Grenville, who was knighted for the capture. He was brought to trial in September; meanwhile his imprisonment was of the harshest order. His indictment under statutes of 1 and 13 Elizabeth was under five counts: first, that he had obtained from the Roman See a "faculty", containing absolution of the queen's subjects; second, that he had published the same at Golden; third, that he had taught the ecclesiastical authority of the pope in Launceston Gaol; fourth, that he had brought into the kingdom an Agnus Dei and had delivered the same to Mr. Tregian. fifth, that he had said Mass.

As to the first and second counts, the martyr showed that the supposed "faculty" was merely a copy printed at Douai of an announcement of the Jubilee of 1575, and that its application having expired with the end of the jubilee, he certainly had not published it either at Golden or elsewhere. As to the third count, he maintained that he had said nothing definite on the subject to the three illiterate witnesses who asserted the contrary. As to the fourth count, he urged that the fact that he was wearing an Agnus Dei at the time of his arrest was no evidence that he had brought it into the kingdom or delivered it to Mr. Tregian. As to the fifth count, he contended that the finding of a Missal, a chalice, and vestments in his room did not prove that he had said Mass.

Nevertheless the jury found him guilty of high treason on all counts, and he was sentenced accordingly. His execution was delayed because one of the judges, Jeffries, altered his mind after sentence and sent a report to the Privy Council. They submitted the case to the whole Bench of Judges, which was inclined to Jeffries's view. Nevertheless, for motives of policy, the Council ordered the execution to proceed. On the night of 27 November his cell was seen by the other prisoners to be full of a strange bright light. The details of his martyrdom must be sought in the works hereinafter cited. It is enough to say that all agree that he was insensible, or almost so, when he was disembowelled. A rough portrait of the martyr still exists; and portions of his skull are in various places, the largest being in the Carmelite Convent, Lanherne, Cornwall.


CAMM, Lives of the English Martyrs, II (London, 1905), 204-222, 656; POLLEN, Cardinal Allen's Briefe Historief (London, 1908), 104-110; COOPER in Dict. Nat. Biog., s.v.; CHALLONER, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, I; GILLOW, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath., s.v.; DASENT, Acts of the Privy Council (London, 1890-1907), IX, 375, 390; X, 6, 7, 85.

Wainewright, John. "Blessed Cuthbert Mayne." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 2 Dec. 2015 <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by WGKofron. With thanks to Fr. John Hilkert and St. Mary's Church, Akron, Ohio.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.


Cuthbert Mayne is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales canonised by Pope Paul VI on 25th October 1970. He converted from Protestantism to Catholicism and became a priest and a martyr. Patrick Duffy tells his story. A Protestant minister Cuthbert Mayne was born at Yorkston, near Barnstaple in Devon and baptized on St […]

Cuthbert Mayne is one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales canonised by Pope Paul VI on 25th October 1970. He converted from Protestantism to Catholicism and became a priest and a martyr. Patrick Duffy tells his story.

A Protestant minister

Cuthbert Mayne was born at Yorkston, near Barnstaple in Devon and baptized on St Cuthbert’s Day, 20th March, 1543. He grew up in the early days of the Boy King Edward VI with an overtly Protestant government installed. Cuthbert’s uncle was a former Catholic priest who favoured the new doctrines and it was expected that Mayne, a good-natured and pleasant young man, but with no great thought of principles of any kind, would inherit his uncle’s benefice.  Educated at Barnstaple Grammar School and ordained a Protestant minister at the age of nineteen, he was installed as rector of Huntshaw, near his birthplace. There followed university studies at Oxford, first at St Alban’s Hall, and then at St John’s College, where he was made chaplain, taking his BA in 1566 and MA 1570.

A convert to Catholicism

It was in Oxford that Mayne made the acquaintance of Edmund Campion (see 1st December), who at that time was still a Protestant like himself and a Catholic Dr Gregory Martin. Mayne became convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith and converted to Catholicism. Late in 1570, a letter addressed to him from Gregory Martin fell into the hands of the Anglican Bishop of London and officers were sent at once to arrest him and others mentioned in the letter. Mayne evaded arrest by going to Cornwall and from there went in 1573 to the English College at Douai.

Returns to England as a Catholic priest

Ordained a Catholic priest at Douai in 1575, he left for the English mission with another priest, John Paine, and took up residence in the guise of an estate steward with Francis Tregian, a gentleman, of Golden, in St Probus’s parish, Cornwall. Tregian’s house was raided and the searchers found a Catholic devotional article (an Agnus Dei symbol) round Mayne’s neck and took him into custody along with his books and papers. Imprisoned in Launceston jail, the authorities sought a death sentence but had difficulty in framing a treason indictment, but five different charges of contravening the Act of Supremacy were brought against him.


The trial judge directed the jury to return a verdict of guilty and he was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Mayne responded, Deo gratias. Francis Tregian was also sentenced to die, but in fact he spent 26 years in prison. Two nights before his execution, Mayne’s cell was reported by his fellow prisoners to have become full of a “great light”. Before his execution, some Protestant ministers came to offer him his life if he would acknowledge the supremacy of the Queen as head of the church. His reply was to kiss his Bible and say: “The Queen neither ever was, nor is, nor ever shall be head of the Church of England”.


Mayne was executed in the market place at Launceston on November 29, 1577. He was not allowed to speak to the crowd, but only to say his prayers quietly. He was the first martyr not to be a member of a religious order. He was the first “seminary priest”, priests who were not trained in England but in houses of studies on the continent, as distinct from those who were (“Marian priests”).

San Cuthberto Mayne

Youlston (Cornovaglia, GB), 1544 - Launceston, 30 novembre 1577

Martirologio Romano: A Lanceston in Inghilterra, san Cutberto Mayne, sacerdote e martire, che, abbracciata le fede cattolica e ordinato sacerdote, esercitò il suo ministero in Cornovaglia, finché, condannato a morte sotto la regina Elisabetta I per aver reso di pubblico dominio una Lettera Apostolica, fu consegnato al patibolo, primo fra gli studenti del Collegio Inglese di Douai.

Nasce al tempo della crisi che sotto Enrico VIII Tudor (1509-1547) stacca l’Inghilterra dalla Chiesa di Roma, dando vita a una sorta di “cattolicesimo autonomo”, che ha per capo il re. Chi non gli obbedisce, anche in materia religiosa, diventa un traditore. E infatti con questa accusa vanno al supplizio sacerdoti, frati e laici eminenti come Tommaso Moro, già cancelliere della corona.

Morto Enrico VIII, e dopo un lustro di regno nominale di suo figlio Edoardo VI ancora minorenne, va sul tronol la sua prima figlia Maria, detta “la Cattolica”, che capovolge la politica del padre, ristabilendo la situazione di prima. Ma copia sciaguratamente la brutalità di Enrico: pensa di ravvivare la fede usando i patiboli, e si merita il soprannome di “Sanguinaria”.

Cuthberto Mayne ha uno zio prete che lo ha messo molto presto a scuola, con un disegno preciso: portare anche lui al sacerdozio, e averlo poi come collaboratore e successore. Quando è sui 14 anni, ecco in Inghilterra un’altra svolta: Elisabetta I, succeduta alla sorellastra Maria nel 1558, riprende la politica di Enrico e la porta alle estreme conseguenze: non solo il distacco dalla Sede romana, ma il ripudio del cattolicesimo nella dottrina, nel culto, nell’ordinamento del clero; severa imposizione del giuramento di fedeltà alla Corona. E gran lavoro per il boia, come ai tempi di Enrico VIII e a quelli di Maria. Lo zio prete di Cuthberto non ha avuto fastidi e ha conservato il posto perché si è affrettato a giurare: è diventato “anglicano”, insomma.

E sui suoi passi procede anche il nipote. Verso i vent’anni è ordinato a sua volta ministro del culto, prosegue poi gli studi a Oxford. Ma qui entra in contatto con gente nuova: cattolici clandestini. Ce n’è ancora qualche decina di migliaia nel regno d’Inghilterra. (Ben pochi, ma attivissimi. Preti che improvvisano attività missionaria nel loro carcere; laici che organizzano reti di nascondigli per i ricercati, e tipografie clandestine e contrabbando di messali).

In Francia, a Douai, è nato addirittura un seminario per i giovani inglesi che in questi climi vogliono diventare sacerdoti cattolici. Dalle amicizie personali, poi, gli viene una spinta crescente, un’attenzione nuova per la fede cattolica. In un giorno del 1570, proprio una lettera spedita a lui da Douai lo trasforma da cappellano in ricercato: l’ha intercettata la polizia, c’è pericolo di arresto, e Cuthberto abbandona Oxford entrando in clandestinità. Riesce a lasciare l’Inghilterra, raggiunge Douai, ed eccolo infine accolto nel seminario.

Nel 1575 riceve l’ordinazione sacerdotale; rimane ancora per qualche mese per completare la preparazione, e nel 1576 eccolo in Cornovaglia sotto copertura: ufficialmente dirige una fattoria, e di fatto è il parroco clandestino dei cattolici del luogo. Un ministero molto breve, il suo: a metà del 1577 lo arrestano, ed è già tutto scritto: la sua opera di prete clandestino è alto tradimento e comporta la morte. Lui potrebbe salvarsi se giurasse fedeltà alla Corona, secondo le leggi di Elisabetta I. Ma rifiuta. Morte con squartamento, dunque, previa impiccagione.Ma forse lui non soffre, perché cade e sviene salendo il patibolo a Launceston. E così, privo di sensi, viene appeso alla forca.

Paolo VI lo canonizza nel 1970 come uno dei quaranta martiri d’Inghilterra e Galles (la cui festa è il 25 ottobre).

Domenico Agasso


samedi 28 novembre 2015

Saint SOSTHÈNE de CORINTHE (ou de COLOPHON), disciple

Epaphroditus, Sosthenes, Apollos, Cephas et Caesar

Saint Sosthène

Disciple et compagnon de Saint Paul (1er s.)

Disciple de l'apôtre saint Paul qui en fait mention dans sa lettre aux Corinthiens (1ère lettre aux Corinthiens 1. 1 à 3). Dans le livre des Actes des Apôtres, on mentionne aussi un chef de synagogue qui porte ce nom et qui a laissé parler Saint Paul, et pour cela fut battu par les juifs de Corinthe.

"Alors, ils se saisirent tous de Sosthène, le chef de la synagogue, et se mirent à le frapper devant le tribunal, tandis que Gallion demeurait indifférent." (Ac - 18 : 17) - Bible de la liturgie

Saint Sosthène et les disciples de saint Paul : Apollos, Céphas, Tychique, César, Epaphrodite furent des coopérateurs fidèles de l'Apôtre à Corinthe, Ephèse ou Philippes. Nous les connaissons par les lettres de saint Paul et le livre des Actes des Apôtres.


Chef de la synagogue de Corinthe. Les Juifs de Corinthe s'étant saisis de saint Paul, le menèrent au tribunal de Gal-lion, et l'accusèrent de vouloir introduire parmi eux une nouvelle manière d'adorer Dieu. Mais le proconsul les renvoya, disant qu'il n'entrait point dans ces contestations, qui ne regardaient que leur loi. Alors ils se saisirent de Sosthène chef-de la synagogue (Ac 17 :12,13), et commencèrent à le battre devant son tribunal, sans que Gallion s'en mît en peine. Voilà ce que porte le texte des Actes. On dispute si ce furent les Juifs ou les gentils qui se saisirent de Sosthène, et qui le battirent. Le grec imprimé des Actes porte que ce furent les gentils. Saint Augustin et Bède lisaient de même. Ils croyaient que lus païens, ayant vu que Gallion avait mal reçu les Juifs, voulurent, pour leur insulter encore davantage, maltraiter le chef de leur synagogue, qui était à leur tête, soit qu'ils le fissent simplement en haine des Juifs, ou par amitié pour saint Paul. Ce sentiment est suivi par Cajetan, Lyran, Grotius et quelques autres.

D'autres croient que Sosthène, tout chef de la synagogue qu'il était, pouvait être ami et disciple secret de saint Paul, et que les Juifs, se voyant rebutés par Gallion, déchargèrent leur mauvaise humeur sur Sosthène, chef de leur synagogue. Ceux-là veulent aussi que ce soit le même Sosthène dont le nom se lit avec celui de saint Paul à la tête de la première Epltre aux Corinthiens, écrite d'Ephèse l'an 56 de l'ère vulgaire, trois ans après ce qui était arrivé à Corinthe. Il faut pourtant avouer que ce sen- timent n'a pas toujours été commun dans l'Eglise, puisque, du temps d'Eusèbe on croyait que Sosthène était un des soixante et dix disciples; et par conséquent il n'était pas chef de la synagogue de Corinthe vingt ans après la mort de Jésus-Christ. Les Grecs font sa fête le 8 de décembre, et lui donnent le titre d'apôtre, comme à l'un des septante dis- ciples, et la qualité de premier évêque de Colophon. Les Latins l'honoraient dès le neuvième siècle comme un disciple de saint Paul, le 11 de juin et le 28 de novembre.

Sosthenes (RM)

1st century. Saint Sosthenes was the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth (Acts 18:17), who was converted by Paul (1 Corinthians 1:1). Greek tradition makes him the first bishop of Colophon in Asia Minor (Benedictines, Encyclopedia). 


Saint Sosthenes of Colophon

Also known as
  • Sosthenes of Corinth

First century leader of the synagogue at Corinth. Convert, led to the faith by Saint Paul the Apostle. First bishop of Colophon, Asia Minor.


The Holy Apostles Sosthenes, Apollos, Cephas, Caesar and Epaphroditus of the Seventy.

St Sosthenes was head of the Corinthian synagogue before his conversion. The Apostle Paul converted him to Christianity and made him his helper in his work. In addressing the Corinthian church, St Paul sent greetings from both of them: “Paul, by the will of God called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, and brother Sosthenes...” (1 Cor.1:1). Afterwards, St Sosthenes was made bishop at Colophon (Asia Minor).
Voir aussi :

These holy apostles are also commemorated on December 8 and the Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles on January 4.

San Sostene Discepolo di Paolo

Sec. I

Durante la lunga permanenza dell'Apostolo San Paolo a Corinto avvenne un fatto non soltanto clamoroso ma, almeno per noi, difficilmente spiegabile, per quanto riferito con la consueta chiarezza da San Luca, il cronista degli Atti degli Apostoli.

" Essendo poi Gallione proconsole dell'Acaia (cioè della regione nella quale si trovava Corinto) - vi si legge - i Giudei tutti d'accordo insorsero contro Paolo e lo portarono in Tribunale, dicendo: "Costui persuade la gente a rendere a Dio un culto contrario alla legge". " E come Paolo era lì pronto a parlare, Gallione disse ai Giudei: "Se si trattasse di qualche delitto, di qualche grave misfatto, io, Giudei, vi darei ascolto come ragion vuole; ma poiché si tratta di questioni di parole e di nomi, e appartengono alla vostra legge, pensateci voi: io non voglio farmi giudice di queste cose". E li mandò via dal tribunale.

" Tutti allora presero Sostene, capo della Sinagoga, e lo percossero dinanzi al tribunale; e Gallione non se ne curava affatto ".

La prima parte dell'episodio è abbastanza chiara: il proconsole romano, in una città che, dopo tutto, si trovava in Grecia e non in Palestina, rifiuta abilmente di farsi giudice di una questione dottrinale che interessa e riguarda soltanto una minoranza dei suoi amministrati. E’, di nuovo, la tattica del lavarsene le mani, adottata da Pilato nei confronti di Gesù, con la differenza che Corinto non era Gerusalemme, e quindi F" astensionismo ", diciamo così, del governatore romano salva Paolo dalle accuse e dalle minacce dei suoi nemici, senza che l'Apostolo apra neanche bocca.

Se non che, ecco il fatto inaspettato: al posto di Paolo, i suoi accusatori, in quello stesso tribunale, prendono e percuotono Sostene, che non aveva nulla a che fare con Paolo, e che era, anzi, il capo della Sinagoga locale.

Perché accadde questo? Perché venne malmenato Sostene, al posto di Paolo? Gli studiosi non sono riusciti a dare una risposta convincente a questa domanda. Probabilmente, il capo della Sinagoga era colui che aveva sobillato i correligionari a manifestare contro Paolo, e i Giudei se la rifecero con lui quando videro che tutta la loro manovra era andata in fumo. Secondo alcuni, però, il risentimento dei Giudei " estremisti " avrebbe avuto un'altra origine: Sostene, cioè, sarebbe stato convertito da San Paolo, passando in campo nemico, così da essere punito per il suo tradimento.

Della conversione di Sostene, capo della Sinagoga di Corinto, gli Atti non fanno parola. Poco dopo, però, il suo nome appare di nuovo nell'indirizzo della lettera che, da Efeso, San Paolo scrisse proprio agli irrequieti cristiani di Corinto, e di cui Sostene sembra essere stato il latore.

E’ stato così naturale pensare che l'antico capo della Sinagoga, percosso dai compagni di fede, sia stato effettivamente convertito da San Paolo, diventando suo discepolo, incaricato di tenere i contatti tra l'Apostolo e la comunità di Corinto, dove era ben noto e stimato.

Questa ipotesi, probabile ma non certa, è stata accolta dai compilatori dei Martirologi, i quali oggi ricordano Sostene tra i Santi, come discepolo di San Paolo ed ex-capo della Sinagoga di Corinto. Con le percosse davanti al tribunale, egli avrebbe " consacrato con un glorioso inizio le primizie della propria fede ", per poi maturare quella sua fede come Vescovo di Colofonia, in Asia Minore. Ma questa è notizia tradizionale, che nessuna testimonianza storica conferma.

Archivio Parrocchia

jeudi 26 novembre 2015


Saint Sirice

Pape (38 ème) de 384 à 399 ( 399)

Pape qui, par ses nombreuses lettres aux Eglises d'Afrique, d'Espagne, de Gaule et d'Italie signifiait qu'en lui "le bienheureux Pierre de Rome portait le fardeau de tous ceux qui ont charge d'âmes". On dit que ce fut lui qui introduisit la prière du "communicantes" dans la liturgie eucharistique. Peut aussi s'écrire Cirice.

À Rome, au cimetière de Priscille sur la nouvelle voie Salarienne, en 399, saint Sirice, pape, dont saint Ambroise a fait l’éloge comme d’un maître, parce que, portant le fardeau de tous les évêques, il leur enseigna les décisions des Pères, qu’il sanctionna de l’autorité apostolique.

Martyrologe romain

Saint Sirice (384-399)

Né à Rome. Il fut le premier à adopter le surnom de pape.

Il prescrit le célibat pour les prêtres et diacres. Ce fui encore qui décida que l’ordination des prêtres ne pourrait être célébrée que par des évêques.

Sirice fut un homme énergique qui se fit respecter de tous et en toutes circonstances.


Saint Sirice, élu pape le 1er janvier 385, fils de Tiburce, et Romain de naissance, succéda à saint Damase. Son élection fut approuvée par Valentinien Ier, qui résidait alors à Milan. Il avait eu pour compétiteur Ursin ou Ursicin, qui avait déjà annoncé ses prétentions sous le pontificat précédent, mais qui fut écarté tout d'une voix. Saint Sirice ne tarda pas à justifier la préférence qu'on lui avait donnée, en répondant à Ilimerius, évêque de Tarragone, sur plusieurs points de doctrine qu'il avait soumis à la décision de saint Damase, avec une pureté de foi et une fermeté de principes qui ne laissaient rien à désirer. Cette lettre est la première des décisions de ce genre émanées de l'autorité du souverain pontife ; elle contient des préceptes remarquables sur l'administration des sacrements du baptême, de la pénitence et de la prêtrise. Ils ont servi de base à tout ce qui a été pratiqué depuis.

      Saint Sirice eut à combattre les hérésies qui, de son temps, affligeaient l'Eglise catholique, telles que celles des novatiens, des donatiens et des priscillanistes. Il contribua beaucoup, avec l'empereur Théodose, à réprimer les manichéens. Le schisme de l'Eglise d'Antioche l'affligea vivement ; et sa prudence autant que sa fermeté contribuèrent efficacement à l'éteindre. Saint Sirice gouverna dignement l'Eglise pendant treize ans huit mois dix-neuf jours, et mourut dans une extrême vieillesse, le 03 novembre 399. On lui reproche néanmoins de n'avoir pas conservé auprès de lui saint Jérôme, ainsi que l'avait fait saint Damase, et de n'avoir pas poursuivi avec assez de rigueur les erreurs d'Origène. Baronius l'accuse aussi très injustement d'avoir négligé les choses de la foi. Toutes ces accusations ont été pleinement réfutées. Il assembla plusieurs synodes, un à Rome, un à Capoue et un troisième à Milan. Plusieurs de ses épîtres ont été conservées. L'Eglise honore sa mémoire le 26 novembre. Il eut pour successeur saint Anastase Ier.  (Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne - Tome 39 - Page 413)


Le pape Sirice succéda à Damase 1er, et fut ainsi le trente-huitième pape.

Son père, romain, s’appelait Tiburtius.

Siricius avait débuté sous le pape Libère et servi sous Damase.

Il fut occupé par différentes questions, tant en Occident qu’en Orient, validement aidé et conseillé par l’alors évêque de Milan, saint Ambroise.

En Occident, il adressa à l’évêque de Tarragone un document qui commence ainsi : Nous portons le fardeau de tous ceux qui sont chargés ; ou plutôt c’est le bienheureux apôtre Pierre qui le porte en nous. L’expression est heureuse pour illustrer la fonction du Primat romain.

Dans la question du priscillianisme, Sirice se prononce contre le supplice des priscillianistes, mais accepte leur conversion et demande aux évêques espagnols de recevoir les pénitents.

En Orient, Sirice (et Ambroise) travaillèrent à la pacification lors du schisme de Mélèce d’Antioche ; le pape condamne ensuite l’hérésie d’un certain Bonose, évêque de Naïssus dans les Balkans, qui prétendait que Marie avait eu d’autres enfants que Jésus-Christ.

Il y eut aussi une fameuse diatribe entre saint Jérôme et Rufin à propos d’Origène ; Sirice prudemment ne voulut pas s’immiscer dans cette querelle exégétique : il respecta Jérôme, mais ne condamna jamais Rufin.

Sirice ordonna trente-deux évêques, trente-et-un prêtres et seize diacres, et procéda à la dédicace de la basilique Saint-Paul-hors-les-murs.

Il mourut le 26 novembre 399, après un pontificat de près de quinze ans et fut inhumé au cimetière de Priscilla, sur la via Salaria.

Son successeur fut saint Anastase 1er.

Saint Sirice est au Martyrologe romain depuis 1748, le 26 novembre. 


Pape Saint Sirice 

( 384-398 )

En l’an 385, dans sa lettre à l'évêque de Tarragone, le pape saint Sirice montre aussi comment la croyance dans l'Eglise primitive rejetait toute notion de baptême de désir.

Pape Saint Sirice, Lettre à Himérius, 385 :

« Sans vouloir cependant amoindrir le respect sacré qui s'attache à Pâques, Nous prescrivons d'administrer sans délai le baptême aux enfants qui, du fait de leur âge, ne peuvent pas encore parler, ou aux personnes qui se trouvent dans une nécessité quelconque de recevoir l’EAU du saint baptême, de peur qu'il ne s'ensuive un détriment pour nos âmes si, par suite de notre refus de la fontaine du salut à ceux qui le désiraient, certains mourants venaient à perdre le Royaume et la vie. Quiconque de même se trouve menacé d'un naufrage, d'une invasion ennemie, ou de quelque maladie mortelle, demandent ce qui dans leur foi est leur seul aide, qu'il soit admis, aussitôt qu'il le demande, au bénéfice de la régénération sollicitée. L'erreur jusqu'ici dans ce domaine doit suffire ; à présent que tous les prêtres s'en tiennent à la règle susdite, s'ils ne veulent pas être arrachés à la solidité du roc apostolique sur lequel le Christ a construit toute l'Eglise. » [1]
[ Note de : Même si l’édition de la version française du Denzinger d’où est tirée la citation ci-dessus a bien traduit le mot latin ‘fonte salutari’ par ‘fontaine du salut’ – qui indique clairement la présence d’eau, elle n’a toutefois pas écrit le mot ‘EAU’ dans la phrase ‘recevoir l’EAU du saint baptême’ . C’est une erreur de traduction ( ou une volonté de l’auteur de ne pas confirmer cette vérité ? ). Car la phrase originale en latin de cette portion mal traduite ‘de recevoir le saint baptême’ est ‘opus fuerit sacri unda baptismatis’ . Le mot latin ‘unda’ veut dire ‘eau’. ]

Cette citation du pape St Sirice est frappante car elle montre encore clairement que l’ Église primitive rejetait la croyance du concept du baptême de désir. Le pape commence par affirmer que le respect du temps pascal ne devrait pas être amoindri. ( Il fait référence au fait que les baptêmes étaient historiquement conférés durant la période pascale ). Après avoir affirmé que cette tradition devait être maintenue, il prévient que les nourrissons et ceux se trouvant dans n’importe quelle nécessité ou danger devaient être immédiatement baptisés pour ne pas perdre le Royaume et la vie pour s’être fait refusés la fontaine du salut qu’ils désiraient. Car le latin de ce passage critique ‘si, par suite de notre refus de la fontaine du salut à ceux qui le désiraient, certains mourants venaient à perdre le Royaume et la vie’ est ‘... ne ad nostrarum perniciem tendat animaram, si negato desiderantibus fonte salutari exiens unusquisque de saeculo et regnum perdat et vitam[2]

En d'autres termes, l'homme qui désire le baptême d'eau et sollicite ( supplie ) la régénération, se verra toujours refusé le ciel s'il ne le reçoit pas ! Rien ne peut rejeter plus clairement la théorie du baptême de désir ! ( ça prouve aussi que le retard pris pour baptiser les adultes consistait à l'instruction et à l'essai des catéchumènes ; non pas parce qu’il était cru que ces catéchumènes pouvaient être sauvés sans baptême ).

Ce point est réappuyé par le pape dans la seconde moitié de la citation, où il dit que lorsque ces personnes non-baptisées : ‘demandent ce qui dans leur foi est leur seul aide, qu'il soit admis, aussitôt qu'il le demande, au bénéfice de la régénération sollicitée.’ Ça signifie que recevoir le baptême d'eau est la seule aide au salut de ces personnes qui souhaitent ardemment recevoir le baptême ! Il n'y a aucune aide au salut de ces personnes dans leur désir ou leur martyre : c’est seulement en recevant le sacrement du baptême !

Notes :

[1] Denzinger – Symboles et définitions de la Foi catholique – Enchiridion Symbolorum , éditions du Cerf, 1996, référence 184.

[2] Latin dans Denzinger – Symboles et définitions de la Foi catholique – Enchiridion Symbolorum , éditions du Cerf, 1996, référence 184.

Frère Peter Dimond - du livre : Hors de l’Eglise Catholique = Absolument Pas de Salut’

Siricius, Pope (RM)

Born in Rome, Italy; died there, November 26, 399; added to the Roman Martyrology by Pope Benedict XIV. Son of Tiburtius, Siricius became a deacon, known for his learning and piety. He was elected pope in December 384, succeeding Pope Saint Damasus. Siricius's pontificate was marked by his denunciation of the monk Jovinian who denied the perpetual virginity of Mary and for a decretal Siricius sent to Bishop Himerius of Tarragona (Spain) requiring married priests to desist from cohabitation with their wives; this is the earliest insistence on clerical celibacy and also the earliest papal decree that has survived in its entirety. He supported Saint Martin of Tours by excommunicating Felix of Trier for his role in bringing about the execution of Priscillian by the emperor (Attwater, Benedictines, Coulson, Delaney, Encyclopedia)

Pope St. Siricius


Born about 334; died 26 November, 399, Siricius was a native of Rome; his father's name was Tiburtius. Siricius entered the service of the Church at an early age and, according to the testimony of the inscription on his grave, was lector and then deacon of the Roman Church during the pontificate of Liberius (352-66). After the death of Damasus, Siricius was unanimously elected his successor (December, 384) and consecrated bishop probably on 17 December. Ursinus, who had been a rival to Damasus (366), was alive and still maintained his claims. However, the Emperor Valentinian III, in a letter to Pinian (23 Feb., 385), gave his consent to the election that had been held and praised the piety of the newly-elected bishop; consequently no difficulties arose. Immediately upon his elevation Siricius had occasion to assert his primacy over the universal Church. A letter, in which questions were asked on fifteen different points concerning baptism, penance, church discipline, and the celibacy of the clergy, came to Rome addressed to Pope Damasus by Bishop Himerius of Tarragona, Spain. Siricius answered this letter on 10 February, 385, and gave the decisions as to the matters in question, exercising with full consciousness his supreme power of authority in the Church (Coustant, "Epist. Rom. Pont.", 625 sq.). This letter of Siricius is of special importance because it is the oldest completely preserved papal decretal (edict for the authoritative decision of questions of discipline and canon law). It is, however, certain that before this earlier popes had also issued such decretals, for Siricius himself in his letter mentions "general decrees" of Liberius that the latter had sent to the provinces; but these earlier ones have not been preserved. At the same time the pope directed Himerius to make known his decrees to the neighbouring provinces, so that they should also be observed there. This pope had very much at heart the maintenance of Church discipline and the observance of canons by the clergy and laity. A Roman synod of 6 January, 386, at which eighty bishops were present, reaffirmed in nine canons the laws of the Church on various points of discipline (consecration of bishops, celibacy, etc.). The decisions of the council were communicated by the pope to the bishops of North Africa and probably in the same manner to others who had not attended the synod, with the command to act in accordance with them. Another letter which was sent to various churches dealt with the election of worthy bishops and priests. A synodal letter to the Gallican bishops, ascribed by Coustant and others to Siricius, is assigned to Pope Innocent I by other historians (P.L., XIII, 1179 sq.). In all his decrees the pope speaks with the consciousness of his supreme ecclesiastical authority and of his pastoral care over all the churches.

Siricius was also obliged to take a stand against heretical movements. A Roman monk Jovinian came forward as an opponent of fasts, good works, and the higher merit of celibate life. He found some adherents among the monks and nuns of Rome. About 390-392 the pope held a synod at Rome, at which Jovinian and eight of his followers were condemned and excluded from communion with the Church. The decision was sent to St. Ambrose, the great Bishop of Milan and a friend of Siricius. Ambrose now held a synod of the bishops of upper Italy which, as the letter says, in agreement with his decision also condemned the heretics. Other heretics including Bishop Bonosus of Sardica (390), who was also accused of errors in the dogma of the Trinity, maintained the false doctrine that Mary was not always a virgin. Siricius and Ambrose opposed Bonosus and his adherents and refuted their false views. The pope then left further proceedings against Bonosus to the Bishop of Thessalonica and the other Illyrian bishops. Like his predecessor Damasus, Siricius also took part in the Priscillian controversy; he sharply condemned the episcopal accusers of Priscillian, who had brought the matter before the secular court and had prevailed upon the usurper Maximus to condemn to death and execute Priscillian and some of his followers. Maximus sought to justify his action by sending to the pope the proceedings in the case. Siricius, however, excommunicated Bishop Felix of Trier who supported Ithacius, the accuser of Priscillian, and in whose city the execution had taken place. The pope addressed a letter to the Spanish bishops in which he stated the conditions under which the converted Priscillians were to be restored to communion with the Church.

According to the life in the "Liber Pontificalis" (ed. Duchesne, I, 216), Siricius also took severe measures against the Manichæans at Rome. However, as Duchesne remarks (loc. cit., notes) it cannot be assumed from the writings of the converted Augustine, who was a Manichæan when he went to Rome (383), that Siricius took any particular steps against them, yet Augustine would certainly have commented on this if such had been the case. The mention in the "Liber Pontificalis" belongs properly to the life of Pope Leo I. Neither is it probable, as Langen thinks (Gesch. der röm. Kirche, I, 633), that Priscillians are to be understood by this mention of Manichæans, although probably Priscillians were at times called Manichæans in the writings of that age. The western emperors, including Honorius and Valentinian III, issued laws against the Manichæans, whom they declared to be political offenders, and took severe action against the members of this sect (Codex Theodosian, XVI, V, various laws). In the East Siricius interposed to settle the Meletian schism at Antioch; this schism had continued notwithstanding the death in 381 of Meletius at the Council of Constantinople. The followers of Meletius elected Flavian as his successor, while the adherents of Bishop Paulinus, after the death of this bishop (388), elected Evagrius. Evagrius died in 392 and through Flavian's management no successor was elected. By the mediation of St. John Chrysostom and Theophilus of Alexandria an embassy, led by Bishop Acacius of Beroea, was sent to Rome to persuade Siricius to recognize Flavian and to readmit him to communion with the Church.

At Rome the name of Siricius is particularly connected with the basilica over the grave of St. Paul on the Via Ostiensis which was rebuilt by the emperor as a basilica of five aisles during the pontificate of Siricius and was dedicated by the pope in 390. The name of Siricius is still to be found on one of the pillars that was not destroyed in the fire of 1823, and which now stands in the vestibule of the side entrance to the transept. Two of his contemporaries describe the character of Siricius disparagingly. Paulinus of Nola, who on his visit to Rome in 395 was treated in a guarded manner by the pope, speaks of the urbici papæ superba discretio, the haughty policy of the Roman bishop (Epist., V, 14). This action of the pope is, however, explained by the fact that there had been irregularities in the election and consecration of Paulinus (Buse, "Paulin von Nola", I, 193). Jerome, for his part, speaks of the "lack of judgment" of Siricius (Epist., cxxvii, 9) on account of the latter's treatment of Rufinus of Aquileia, to whom the pope had given a letter when Rufinus left Rome in 398, which showed that he was in communion with the Church. The reason, however, does not justify the judgment which Jerome expressed against the pope; moreover, Jerome in his polemical writings often exceeds the limits of propriety. All that is known of the labours of Siricius refutes the criticism of the caustic hermit of Bethlehem. The "Liber Pontificalis" gives an incorrect date for his death; he was buried in the cæmeterium of Priscilla on the Via Salaria. The text of the inscription on his grave is known (De Rossi, "Inscriptiones christ. urbis Romæ", II, 102, 138). His feast is celebrated on 26 November. His name was inserted in the Roman Martyrology by Benedict XIV.


Liber Pontif., ed; DUCHESNE, I, 216-17; COUSTANT, Epist. Roman. Pont., I; JAFFÉ, Reg. Pont. Rom., I, 2nd ed, 40-42; BABUT, La plus ancienne Décrétale (PARIS, 1904); LANGEN, Gesch. der röm. Kirche, I (Bonn, 1881), 611 sqq.; RAUSCHEN, Jahrb. der christl. Kirche (Freiburg, 1897); GRISAR, Gesch. Roms u. der Päpste, I, passim; HEFELE, Konziliengesch., II, 2nd ed., 45-48, 51.

Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Pope St. Siricius." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 26 Nov. 2015 <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Kenneth M. Caldwell. Dedicated to the memory of Jun Ho Park.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.


San Siricio Papa

Sec. IV

(Papa dal 12/384 al 26/11/399)

Romano, è considerato il primo Papa ad affermare il primato e l'autorità del <maggior Pietro> su tutta la Chiesa. Promosse la ricostruzione della basilica di San Paolo.

Martirologio Romano: A Roma nel cimitero di Priscilla sulla via Salaria nuova, san Siricio, papa, che sant’Ambrogio loda come vero maestro, in quanto, portando il fardello di tutti coloro che sono gravati della responsabilità episcopale, li istruì negli insegnamenti dei Padri, che confermò anche con la sua autorità apostolica.

La figura di San Siricio Papa, venne a lungo offuscata dal giudizio negativo che, sul suo conto, emerge dalle opere del grande San Girolamo, cioè di un personaggio per molti versi eccezionale soprattutto per la sua prodigiosa cultura ma facile ai giudizi avventati, ispirati a personale simpatia o antipatia, come ben sa chi ne abbia letto le vivacissime Lettere.

Si può dire che la scarsa simpatia del grande studioso sul conto del Papa Siricio abbia pesato su questo personaggio per quasi quattordici secoli, perché soltanto nel 1748 San Siricio fu accolto nel Martirologio Romano dal Papa Benedetto XIV.
Questi era abbastanza ferrato, come storico e come canonista, da poter dissentire dalle secolari prevenzioni di San Girolamo!

Siricio fu successore di San Damaso, e resse il pontificato dal 383 al 399.Damaso era stato il grande protettore di San Girolamo, ma Siricio ebbe anch'egli un fortissimo campione al quale appoggiarsi, e la sua scelta fu quanto mai saggia, perché cadde su Sant'Ambrogio, Vescovo di Milano.

Milano era ormai la capitale dell'Impero di Occidente, e il Vescovo Ambrogio vi aveva raggiunto un'autorità senza precedenti. Un Papa più meschinamente geloso avrebbe esitato a rafforzare il prestigio di quel personaggio dinanzi al quale il Vescovo di Roma rischiava di passare in seconda linea.

Invece, il romano Siricio, desideroso soprattutto del bene della Chiesa, affidò ad Ambrogio buona parte della direzione degli affari ecclesiastici, facendone quasi un socio nel governo della Chiesa. Da parte sua, Ambrogio non approfittò di tale posizione e restò sempre in deferente atteggiamento nei confronti del Vescovo di Roma.

San Siricio, da parte sua, fu il Pontefice della moderazione e dell'equilibrio. Si sentiva veramente padre - o meglio servo - di tutti i fedeli, e rifuggiva dai particolarismi che spesso dividevano le varie Chiese. " Noi - diceva con bellissima espressione - portiamo il fardello di tutti coloro che sono gravati; o piuttosto è il beato Apostolo Pietro che lo porta in noi ".

Il focoso San Girolamo, che si lanciava come una catapulta contro gli avversari veri o supposti, non poteva andar d'accordo con quel Papa nemico degli estremismi e dell'intemperanze. Si allontanò infatti da Roma per ritirarsi, asceta macerato e studioso insonne, in una grotta presso Betlemme, dove a buon conto ebbe per compagno, simbolico animale!, un ringhioso leone.

Eppure anche Girolamo, nel suo giostrare di infaticabile polemista, si trovava al fianco, di quando in quando, proprio il Papa Siricio, moderato e moderatore, ma non per questo tardo a difendere la verità e la giustizia.

Questo Papa non ambizioso né invidioso che sentiva veramente, sulle sue vecchie spalle, il fardello della universale comunità dei credenti, l'eredità gravosa di Pietro, di colui cioè che scioglie, ma è legato; che apre, ma è prigioniero.


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