Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 13.djvu/870

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SILVIA


794


SIMEON


Greneral of the Lombard congregation of his order. Having discharged this office for the alloted term of two 3'ears, he became regent of the college at Bologna, where he remained for a considerable time. Later he was appointed by Clement VII vicar-general of his entire order, and on 3 June, 1525, in the general chapter held at Rome, he was elected master gen- eral. As general of his order he visited nearlj'- all the convents of Italy, France, and Belgium, restoring everj'where primitive fervour and discipline. He was planning to begin a visitation of the Spanish convents, when a fatal illness carried him away. Albert Leander, his travelling companion, tells us that he was a man of remarkable mental endowments, that nature seemed to have enriched him with all her gifts. Silvester \\TOte many splendid works, prin- cipal among which is his monumental " Commentarj' on the Summa contra Gentiles of St. Thomas Aquinas" (Paris, 1552). Worthy of special mention are also his explanations of various books of Aristotle. In his "Apologia de convenientia institutorum Romanse Ecclesite cum evangelica libertate" (Rome, 1525), written in a style clear, forceful and elegant, he ably defended the primacy and the organization of the church against Luther. Some have erroneously at- tributed this work to Silvester Prierias.

QuETiP-EcHARD, Script. Ord. Prcrd., II, .59 sq.; Hdrter, Nomenclator.

Charles J. Callan.

Silvia, Saint, mother of Pope St. Gregory the Great, b. about 515 (525?); d. about 592. There is unfortunately no life of Silvia and a few scanty no- tices are all that is extant concerning her. Her na- tive place is sometimes given as Sicily, sometimes as Rome. Apparently she was of as distinguished fam- ily as her husband, the Roman regionarius, Gordi- anus. She had, besides Gregory, a second son. Sil- via was noted for her great piety, and she gave her sons an excellent education. After the death of her husband she devoted herself entirely to religion in the "new cell by the gate of blessed Paul" (cella nova juxta portam beati PauU). Gregory the Great had a mosaic portrait of his parents executed at the monas- terj' of St. Andrew; it is minutely decribed by Jo- hannes Diaconus (P. L., LXXV, 229-30). Silvia was portrayed sitting with the face, in which the wrinkles of age could not extinguish the beauty, in full view; the eyes were large and blue, and the expression was gracious and animated. The veneration of Silvia is of early date. In the ninth centur>' an oratory was erected over her former dwelling, near the Basilica of San Saba. Pope Clement VIII (1592-1605) inserted her name under 3 November in the Roman Martyr- ology. She is entreated by pregnant women for a safe delivery.

Ada SS., Nov., I, 658-62; Wuescheb-Becchi, Sulla ricostru- zione di tre dipinti descritli da Giovanni Diacono ed esistenti al suo tempo (sec. IX) nel convento di S. Andrea ad clivum Scauri in Nuovo Bulletino di archeologia cristiana. VI (Rome, 1900), 233-51.

Klemens Loffler. Silvius, Franciscus. See Sylvius.

Simeon ("ir^r) , the second son of Jacob by Lia and patronymic ancestor of the Jewish tribe bearing that name. The original signification of the name is un- known, but the wTiter of Gen., xxix, 33-35, according to his wont, offers an explanation, deriving the word from Hhama, "to hear". He quotes Lia as saying: "Because the Lord heard that I was despised, he hath given this also to me; and she called his name Sim- eon" (Gen., xxix, 33). Similar etymologies referring to Levi and Juda arc found in the two following verses. In Gen., xxxiv, Simeon appears with his full brother lycvi aa the avenger of their sister Dina who had been humiliated by Hemor a prince of the Sichem- itcs. By a strange subterfuge all the men of th(! lat- ter tribe are rendered helpless and are slaughtered by the two irate brothers who then, together with the


other sons of the patriarch, plunder the city. This act of violence was blamed by Jacob (Gen., xxxiv, 30), though for a rather selfish reason; his disapproval on more ethical grounds appears in the prophetical bless- ing of his twelve sons in Gen., xlix, 5-7. Regarding Simeon and Levi Jacob says: "Cursed be their fury, because it was stubborn; and their wrath because it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and will scat- ter them in Israel. "

There is a striking contrast between this earlier ap- preciation of the treacherous and bloody deed and that of the writers of post-Exilic Judaism, who have only words of praise for the action of the two brothers, and even consider them as incited to it by Divine in- spiration (see Judith, ix, 2, 3). The same change of ethical sense may be gathered more fully from the un- canonical Book of the Jubilees (xxx) and from a poem in commemoration of the massacre of the Sichemites by Theodotus, a Jewish or Samaritan writer, who lived about 200 b. c. Simeon figures in only one other incident recorded in Genesis. It is in connexion with the visit of the sons of Jacob to Egypt to buy corn. Here he is detained by Joseph as a hostage while the others return to Chanaan promising to bring back their younger brother Benjamin (Gen., xlii, 25). Ac- cording to some commentators he was selected for this purpose because he had been a principal factor in the betrayal of Joseph into the hands of the Madianite merchants. The narrative, however, makes no men- tion of this, and it is but a conjectural inference from what is otherwise known of Simeon's violent and treacherous character. (See Simeon, Tribe of.)

Von Hummelauer, Comment, in Genesim (Commentary on chapters xxix, xxxiv, xlii and xlix) ; Vigourodx, Diet, de la Bible,

James F. Driscoll.

Simeon, Holy, the "just and devout" man of Jerusalem who according to the narrative of St. Luke, greeted the infant Saviour on the occasion of His presentation in the Temple (Luke ii, 25-35). He was one of the pious Jews who were waiting for the "consolation of Israel" and, though advanced in years, he had received a premonition from the Holy Ghost, Who was in him, that he would not die before he had seen the expected Messias. This promise was fulfilled when through guidance of the Spirit he came to the Temple on the day of the Presentation, and taking the Child Jesus in his arms, he uttered the Canticle "Nunc dimittis" (q. v.) (Luke, ii, 29-32), and after blessing the Holy Family he proi)hesicd concerning the Child, Who "is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel", and regarding the mother whose "soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed". Aa in the case of other personages mentioned in the New Testament, the name of Simeon has been connected with untrustworthy legends, viz., that he was a rabbi, the son of Hillel and the father of Gamaliel mentioned in Acts, v, 34. These distinguished relationships are hardly compatible with the simple reference of St. Luke to Simeon as "a man in .Jerusalem". With like reserve may we look upon the legend of the two sons of Simeon, Charinus, and Leucius, as set forth in the apocryphal gospel of Nicodemus.

VioounoDX, Dictionnaire de la Rihlr, s. v.

James F. Driscoll.

Simeon of Durham (Symeon), chronicler, d. 14 Oct., between 1130 and 11.38. As a youth he had entered the Ben(>dictine monastery at Jarrow which was removed to Durham in 1074, and he was pro- fessed in 10H5 or lOSfi, subsequently attaining the office of precentor. His chief work is the "Historia ecclesia; Dunelmensis", written between 1104 and 1108, giving the history of the bishopric down to 1096. He also wrote "Historia regum Anglorum et Dacorum" (from 732 to 1129). The first part down