Pope Saint Silverius
Jul 06, 2015 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast June 20
Pope and Martyr
Born in Italy, Silverius was son of Pope Hormisdas, who had been married before becoming one of the higher clergy. He was only a subdeacon, when, upon the death of Pope St. Agapetus in 536, the Ostrogoth King Theodehad of Italy forced him on the Catholic Church.
Soon afterwards, Silverius was formally accepted as pope by the Roman clergy.
Silverius soon incurred the wrath of the Empress Theodora. He refused to accept and recognize the heretical Eutychian patriarchs – Anthimus of Constantinople, Severus of Antioch, and Theodosius of Alexandria – who had all been excommunicated and deposed from their episcopal sees by the previous pope.
Silverius is said to have remarked that by his signing the letter of refusal to Theodora's imperial request, he was also signing his own death warrant. And so it proved to be.
Theodora had Silverius kidnapped and imprisoned on the island of Ponza, and the empress nominated her supporter, Archdeacon Vigilius, for the papal throne. Vigilius was named pope, but upon taking the position, he ceased to support the Empress’ heresy and became a strong defender of orthodoxy.
In 537, after a reign of just a year, Silverius died of neglect during his imprisonment. He is now recognized as the patron saint of the island of Ponza, where he died.
Header Image: Pope St. Silverius stranded on the Island of Ponza