Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1481
Pope Siricius (384-398) thanks Himerius, bishop of Tarragona (Iberian Peninsula), for his questions, sent to him by Presbyter Bassianus, and asks him to share his responses with other bishops of the Iberian Peninsula. Siricius, Letter to Himerius, Rome, AD 385.
Letter 1
20. Explicuimus, ut arbitror, frater charissime, universa quae digesta sunt in querelam: et ad singulas causas, de quibus per filium nostrum Bassianum presbyterum ad Romanam Ecclesiam, utpote ad caput tui corporis, retulisti, sufficientia quantum opinor responsa reddidimus. Nunc fraternitatis tuae animum ad servandos canones et tenenda decretalia constituta magis ac magis incitamus, ut haec quae ad tua rescripsimus consulta, in omnium coepiscoporum nostrorum perferri facias notionem, et non solum eorum qui in tua sunt dioecesi constituti: sed etiam ad universos Carthaginenses ac Baeticos, Lusitanos atque Gallicios, vel eos, qui vicinis tibi collimitant hinc inde provinciis, haec, quae a nobis sunt salubri ordinatione disposita, sub litterarum tuarum prosecutione mittantur. Et quamquam statuta sedis apostolicae vel canonum venerabilia definita, nulli sacerdotum Domini ignorare sit liberum: utilius tamen, et pro antiquitate sacerdotii tui, dilectioni tuae esse admodum poterit gloriosum, si ea, quae ad te speciali nomine generaliter scripta sunt, per unanimitatis tuae sollicitudinem, in universorum fratrum nostrorum notitiam perferantur: quatenus et quae a nobis non inconsulte, sed provide sub nimia cantela et deliberatione sunt salubriter constituta, intemerata permaneant, et omnibus in posterum excusationibus aditus, qui iam nulli apud nos patere poterit, obstruntur. Data tertio Idus Februarias, Arcadio et Bautone consulibus.
(ed. Coustant 1845: 1145-1147)
Letter 1
20. We explicated, I believe, dearest brother, all the things which were set forth as being at issue, and we provided adequate replies, in my opinion, to the individual cases which you referred to the Roman Church, just as to the head of your body, through our son the Presbyter Bassianus. Now, brother, we incite your spirit more and more for observing the canons and adhering to the constituted decretals, so that you make known to all our fellow bishops, and not only those situated in your region, what we wrote back in response to your questions. But these things which were set forth by us in salubrious fashion should even be sent by escort of your letter to all the Carthaginians, Baeticians,  Lusitanians, and Gallicians,  and those who border you in neighboring provinces on either side. And although there is freedom for no priest of the Lord to be ignorant of the statutes of the apostolic see and the venerable decrees of the canons, it can, nevertheless, be helpful, and because of the antiquity of your see, beloved, exceedingly glorious for you, if those things of a general sort which were written to you by name are brought to the attention of all our brothers through your cooperative solicitude, so that the things which were salubriously established by us, not haphazardly, but prudently, with very great care and deliberation, might remain inviolate, and that in the future access to all excuses should be blocked, which according to us cannot be available now to anyone.

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Rome

About the source:

Author: Siricius
Title: Letters, Epistulae
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The letter, written in early AD 385, is the response to the questions sent by Himerius, bishop of Tarragona in the Iberian Peninsula, to the predecessor of Siricius, Damasus. It is considered to be first papal "decretal", i.e. a letter aimed at correcting doctrinal errors and impose discipline in an authoritative way.
P. Coustant ed., S. Siricii papae epistolae et decreta, Paris 1845, Patrologia Latina 13, 1131-1178.
H. Wurm, Studien und Texte zur Dekretalensammlung des Dionysius Exiguus, Bonn 1939.
Robert Somerville and Bruce Brasington, Prefaces to Canon Law Books in Latin Christianity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998) 36-39
A. Ferreiro, "Pope Siricius and Himerius of Tarragona (385): Provincial Papal Intervention in the Fourth Century”, [in :] The Bishop of Rome in Late Antiquity, Farnham, Burlington 2015.


Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Ecclesiastical administration - Ecclesiastical envoy
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: S. Adamiak, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1481,