St. Silverius was a subdeacon when, on the death of St. Agapetus, he was chosen Pope in 536. Shortly after the election, the victorious Belisarius, general of the Emperor Justinian, waging war against the Goths, appeared before the gates of Rome. At the persuasion of Pope Silverius, the senate and people admitted him into the city.
The Empress Theodora, who favored the sect of the Acephali or Ultra-Eutychians, endeavored to draw the Pope into connivance with her party, but the Sovereign Pontiff could not be deceived though he foresaw that his resistance would cost him life. The Empress now entered into an intrigue with Vigilius, Archdeacon of the Roman Church, promising him the papacy if he would condemn the Council of Chalcedon. Ti this he basely agreed.
Hereupon, the Archdeacon was sent to Rome with a letter for Belisarius, commanding him to drive out St. Silverius and to contrive the election of Vigilius. After some hesitation, and, like Pilate, shifting the responsibility, the general decided to obey. Being lured into the hands of his enemies, St. Silverius was conducted to Patara in Lycia, and Vigilius became Pope.
When Justinian, the Emperor, learned the true state of affairs, he gave orders that St. Silverius should be sent back to Rome. His enemies intercepted him on the road and Vigilius had him taken to the island of Palmaria. He died there a short time afterward, in 537. Ironically, the death of St. Silverius was no benefit whatever to the heretics, for once Vigilius had actually become Pope he gave up all dalliance with them.
PRAYER: Almighty God, help us to bear worldly adversities with an unconquerable spirit. For You did not let St. Silverius, Your Pope and Martyr, be terrified by threats or conquered by pains. Amen.