A look at some of the history and holidays on November 26
Feast of St. Siricius, a Pope who lived and died in his 75th year, that also being the 15th year of his papacy, on this day in 399 A.D. He is an important Pope in the historical sense because he is the first Pope whose original writings are still extant. You can find an English translation here of a Decretal of the Pope, written in 385 A.D., answering fifteen questions of Cannon law. In it, he deals with a variety of issues, from priestly celibacy to baptism, and also with handling several of the heretical sects that competed with the early Church. They should be, he writes, cut off from the Church, but should they repent, the Church should accept them back “because, as the Lord teaches, we do not wish the death of a sinner, only that he be converted and live.”
1476 – Vlad the Impaler becomes ruler of Wallachia for the third time
Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad Dracula, hero of Romania, son of Vlad Dracul, was a claimant to the throne of Wallachia during a period when Eastern Europe was under constant threat from the Muslim Turks of the Ottoman Empire. In an era of where ruthlessness and brutality were commonplace, Vlad Tepes stood out for his ruthlessness and brutality.
By 1476, Vlad had already twice been ruler of Wallachia, an area that the Ottoman Sultan looked upon as a tributary state. It is not clear precisely why Vlad was forced to vacate his crown the first time, but his second reign ended when he refused to pay tribute to the Sultan. That brought war with the Turks and, despite winning several military victories over an invading Ottoman army, Vlad did not have the numbers to continue the fight and withdrew. By 1476, the Ottomans had installed their preferred ruler, Basarab Laiota, on the throne, but Vlad, in an alliance with Stephen the Great and Stephen V Báthory, began an invasion that forced Laiota to flee. On this date in 1476, Vlad would be crowned ruler of Wallachia for a third and last time.
His reign was short, however. Laiota returned to Wallachia with an Ottoman army. Vlad the Impaler died fighting them in battle in January, 1477. Much later, he rose from the dead in 1897 to become the lead character in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula.
It is interesting to note that the efforts of rulers like Vlad Dracula to resist the Ottoman Turks ultimately proved successful. Even today, the population of Romania is less than 1% Muslim.