24 June 2023

Was S Silverius, Pope and Martyr, starved to death?

 I hope readers enjoyed, two or three days ago, Dom Gueranger's dramatic accounts, which I reproduced on this blog, of the papal uncertainties in the times of Pope S Silverius and (if he was genuinely pope!!!) Vigilius. Just think ... we may have to live through times of such uncertainties again! The adage papa dubius papa nullus may again be tugged around in the lecture rooms of Catholic academic institutions!!

Before I leave Pope S Silverius behind ... one more weeny point.

In 1943, a new commune emerged from Rome ... Bishop Myers as the Westminster Vicar Capitular gave it his imprimatur, and all over the world, Clergy, including Army Chaplains in the thick of conflict, had to get out that essential liturgical tool of a Catholic Priest, their glue, and gum the new Mass Si diligis into their Altar Missals. Henceforth, the old Common Masses for Roman Pontiffs, sanctified by so many centuries of use, had to give way to this new commune whenever a Sainted Pontiff chose to pop up on the Calendar. 

As, for example, happened in the case of S Silverius.

Was anything lost? Well, the old Mass for S Silverius employed mainly the commune for a Martyr Pontiff, Statuit, but did have its own (unique?) Epistle: Jude verses 17-21. Why not have a look at that? It went missing, of course, when Bishop Myers signed his imprimatur. The vandal.

The Epistle of S Jude has never been one of the most popular source of lections for, er, those whose job it has been to select lections. I wonder how far its use on the festival of S Silverius goes back in the papal rite. Who was it who thought that the references to 'illusores' (empaiktai) was topical in those deadly days of rival popes and of 'popes' who were willing to terminate their predecessors? psykhikoi, pneuma me ekhontes/ animales, spiritum non habentes ...

Fascinating stuff ... surely, something fierce is going on here. What exactly are we into??

Think about the Allied and Axis Armies round Caen in June 1944 as they struggled for the essential breakthrough ... what did they think about the elimination, that year for the first time, of S Jude?

Were they Silverius-men or Vigilius-men?

I wonder if such questions were factors in the decision of pastors to say the Te igitur silently?



Jhayes said...

I have read “starvation” elsewhere but Kirsch was less specific in his 1912 article in The Catholic Encyclopedia:

“Silverius was taken to the Island of Palmaria [Palmarola] in the Tyrrhenian Sea and kept there in close confinement. Here he died in consequence of the privations and harsh treatment he endured. The year of his death is unknown, but he probably did not live long after reaching Palmaria. He was buried on the island, according to the testimony of the "Liber pontificalis" on 20 June”


Banshee said...

That's kind of odd, given how Palmaria would be a refuge for Christians in the Dark Ages, and then later would be mostly abandoned.

There's a weird "Christian Palmarian Church of the Carmelites of the Holy Face" which features an antipope, Peter III, who was ordained by a sedevacantist Vietnamese bishop. They also have some rather unique canonization choices.

They teach that Pope Paul VI died a martyr, and that the papal office was miraculously transferred to them.

An ex-pope who reconciled with the Catholic Church claims that the whole thing was set up as a con game, preying upon a particular apparition's believers. The alleged apparition (which was condemned by the local bishop) was in a village named El Palmar de Troya, and hence the Palmarian appellation.

Jhayes said...

Banshee, I think “Palmaria” is a translator’s error. There is an Editor’s Note at the end of the article:

“ [Editor's note: According to the Liber Pontificalis, Pope St. Silverius was exiled not to Palmaria, but rather to the Island of Palmarola, a much smaller and more desolate island near Ponza, Italy, in the Bay of Naples.]

The Editor didn’t get that exactly right, either, since Palmarola is is not in the Bay of Naples but in the Tyrrhenian Sea as Kirsch mentions. Ponza is a larger island in the same Pontine Islands group

Palmaria island is a tourist destination five minutes off the coast near La Spezia.