Notre Dame de Rouen. The façade of the Gothic Church in France. Photographer: Hippo1947. Licence: SHUTTERSTOCK.

Thursday 20 June 2024

Saint Silverius. Pope And Martyr. Reigned From 536 A.D. - 537 A.D. Feast Day 20 June.

Young Saint John the Baptist in Glory with 
Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Pope Saint Silverius.
Artist: Orazio Samacchini (1532 – 1577).
Source: Own work.
Author: Sailko
(Wikimedia Commons)

Text from “The Liturgical Year”.
   By: Abbot Guéranger, O.S.B.
      Volume 12.
      Time After Pentecost.
      Book III.

Saint Silverius. 
Pope And Martyr. 
Reigned 536 A.D. - 537 A.D. 
Feast Day 20 June.

Papal succession is one of the principal facts wherein is demonstrated the working of The Holy Ghost, from the very first day of His descent upon our Earth.

The legitimacy of the Popes, as successors of Peter, is, indeed, closely linked with the legitimacy of The Church, itself, in her character of Bride of The Man-God; and, therefore, His mission being to lead The Bride to The Spouse, The Holy Ghost cannot suffer her to wander in the footprints of intruders.

The inevitable play of human passions, interfering in the election of The Vicar of Christ, may perchance for a while render uncertain the transmission of Spiritual Power.

But, when it is proved that The Church, still holding, or once more put in possession of, her liberty, acknowledges in the person of a certain Pope, until then doubtful, the true Sovereign Pontiff, this her very recognition is a proof that, from that moment at least, the occupant of the Apostolic See is as such invested by God, Himself.

This doctrine The Holy Ghost confirms, by giving thereto, in the Pontiff we are celebrating today, the consecration of Martyrdom.

Saint Agapitus I died at Constantinople, whither Theodoric the Goth had persuaded him to go, in order to appease the anger of Justinian excited against this King by reason of his treasons.

Scarcely had the news of this death reached the Arian Prince, than he, in terror of perhaps seeing someone unfavourable to his pretensions raised to the Pontificate, imperatively designated as successor to the deceased Pope, the Deacon, Silverius.

Two months later, the justice of God struck the tyrant, and The Church was set free. Doubtless, Rome would have but exercised her proper right had she rejected the Head thus imposed upon her by main force: For not to Earthly Princes has The Lord consigned the election of His Vicar upon Earth.

But Silverius, who had been an utter stranger to the violence used on his personal account, was, in reality, a man in every way fitted for the supreme Pontificate.

Therefore, when the Roman Clergy became free to act, they had no wish to withdraw from him their adhesion, until then certainly disputable. From that moment, undoubtedly, Silverius could not but be Head of The Church, the true successor of Agapitus, The Lord’s Elect.

In the midst of a period thronged with snares, he proved how well he understood the exigences of duty in his exalted Office, and preferred an exile which would eventually cost him his life, to the abandonment of a Post wherein The Holy Ghost had truly placed him.

Holy Church gratefully bears witness to this, in her short eulogy of him; and The Army of Martyrs opened their ranks to receive him, when death at length struck the Pontiff in his land of exile.

And, another painting by Orazio Samacchini

Artist: Orazio Samacchini  (1532 – 1577).
Date: Circa 1570.
(Wikimedia Commons)

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