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The Popes of the Carolingian Times (590-996)

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With the obvious and intimate relations which settled between the western Church and the Carolingians, those notices about the popes of the period will be of use

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Popes of The 6th Century
Popes of The 7th Century
Popes of The 8th Century
Popes of The 9th Century
Popes of The 10th Century

(dates following pope's name are those of his pontificate only)

flèche retour Popes of The 6th Century

*Gregory I, Gregory the Great (590-604)
Doctor of the Church, Latin Father. Gregory had been born in 540 among a wealthy Roman family, which owned large domains in Sicily. Silvia, his mother, and two of his aunts were canonized like saints. Well educated, he eventually became 'prefect of Rome' as the function had already much declined by that time. As soon as of 574, he took the decision to become a monk, founding 6 monasteries from his domains in Sicily. He followed the rule of St. Benedict in the monastery of St. Andrew that he had founded in Rome. Confronted to the Lombard threat, pope Pelagius II takes him from his monastery, in 579, and sends him like the apostolic nuntio, or legate, to Byzantium to obtain the military support of the emperor Tiberius. There, Gregory met with Leander, the brother to the famed Isidore of Seville and, above all, he become ascertained that Rome nor Italy might continue now to receive any military help from Constantinople and had to rely on themselves only. He came back in Rome in 586. At that time did occur the famed episode when stricken by the beauty of Angles, Gregory said that they were 'not Angles, but Angels'. It's unknown however whether the Angles were slaves, or freemen as it's the Venerable Bede who was the first to have them slaves, as the legend, generally, might well be mostly of English origin. In any case, that made that Gregory decided to go and missionarize England but the people of Rome had him back into the city, which shows well the importance Gregory had reached then. In fact, he had become then the main counselor and assistant of pope Pelagius. Gregory became pope himself due to calamities which fell upon Rome in 589, with floods of the Tiber river, the destruction of the Church grain stores, and the plague and as Pelagius II died. Gregory, albeit refusing to be, was chosen like the new pope in 590, that obligation marking his whole pontificate. He was the first monk ever to have become a pope. Having a poor health, from the asceticism he had imposed to himself at the beginnings of his life like a monk, he kept living a simple life of a monk during his life. As he had an intense activity as far Church matters were concerned, Gregory I was too the first pope who managed Rome and the Church domains in Italy and Africa. In the domains, he protected strongly the tenants there. No military power existed then in Rome outside the pope, as the exarch was remaining in Ravenna. As an administrator, the pope -and his agents- was acting like accountable to God and St. Peter. That good administration of the earthly wealth of the Church however was impeded somehow through some too large alms towards the poors. Gregory I soon came to confront with the patriarch of Constantinople, which lasted until his death, upon the supremacy of Rome. Gregory I too expressed his supremacy upon all the Western Churches, with which Rome almost had no ties anymore since a century as he had balanced relations with the other Eastern Churches, which recognized effectively Rome's authority. The Lombard threat (Lombards were arians), since 592, brought the proof that the pope, now, wanted to act independently from Byzantium and, from that, the politics, in Italy, became the fact of three parties, with Byzantium, the Pope, and the Lombards. As far as the Franks are concerned, the relations with Rome, at the death of Gregory I, ceased during one century as, on the other hand, he exerted a strong influence unto the monastic life there, making the monasteries the mean of civilizing the Franks. Papacy however, if not due to that Gregory felt respect to the Byzantine emperor, was largely remaining under the control of it as the pope could only keep the policy of his predecessors, which consisted into accepting that the emperor may intervene in the domain of the dogma and then obey -except for cases of sin- as the ideal for Gregory I would have been that of the pope totally master of the spiritual affairs, and the emperor delegate of God for the temporal ones. Gregory the Great already announced medieval theocracy and the next restoration of Empire in the West. The fact that the papacy began to be independent from Byzantium just came then from the internal weaknesses of the Empire at that time. Gregory I too showed much interest into the missionnary work, with he sent Augustine in England (Gregory is thus considered the 'Apostle of the Angles'), fortifying the monasteries of Gaul, or fighting the donatism in Africa, or some local schisms in northern Italy and Istria. The pope too had close relationships with the Church of Spain and of Illyria. According to the ideas of the time, he did not hesitate to call for force and the military arm when all the pacific means had failed into converting people, or the heretics. It is likely too that Gregory I used the Jews in his policy, as they were numerously present in Ravenna and in southern Italy. He just contented himself to have with them the relations as they were defined by laws. Gregory the Great, as a monk, understood clearly the interest of the Western monasticism, as recently organized by St. Benedict, into the hierarchical structure of the Church as he began the papal politics to place monasteries directly under the papal jurisdiction, instead of that of the bishops. He tended, on the other hand, to favour the monks against the secular clerics. Gregory I obviously too is well knwon for his role about the plain chant, which eventuellement took his name, the 'gregorian chant'. Gregory the Great died in March 604 as he was immediately made a saint by acclamation. Gregory, as he was better a monk and an active man, a missionary, an administrator and a man with leadership, than a theologian, is considered the first real pope of the Middle Ages due to that he inaugurated the independency of the papacy against Byzantium, who had the peoples of Italy to consider Rome like their natural political leader, and who kept Rome like the chief center of the Christian world! As a Doctor of the Church and a Latin Father, Gregory I mostly harmonized the Fathers' works, slightly however updating the Augustine's thought to the current times, and making that his work, after the one of Augustine, became the authoritative manual for the following Middle Ages. Gregory, at last, was at the origin of that grammar, dialectic and rhetoric did not base their training anymore on the profane texts of the Antiquity, like they had until then, but upon the sacred texts. In that, he was imitated by Isidore of Seville and the Venerable Bede

flèche retour Popes of The 7th Century

*Sabinian (604-606)
He was sent like a legate in Constantinople in 593 by pope Gregory I. There, he was few efficient. He was then elected pope. He stepped back as far as the alms to the poors is concerned, as he sold at a high price the grain to them during a famine in Rome. He came, on another hand, to a more balanced relation between the monks and the secular clerics
*Boniface III (607)
From a Roman extraction, he was elected after that an interreign had occurred after the previous pope, in February 607. He died on November 12th, in the same year. He had been sent like a legate, by pope Gregory I, in Constantinople in 603. From that stay, he caught the favour of the emperor Phocas as he eventually obtained from him, once pope, a decree stating, against the patriarch of Constantinople, that the 'seat of the beatus Peter, apostle, had to be the head of all Churches' and that the title of 'universal bishop', which until then had been bore by the patriarch too, was to belong to the bishop of Rome only. That, by the way, was just re-asserting what had been decreed by the emperor Justinian 80 years ago, which recognized the supremacy of Rome. During a short pontificate, Boniface III made a council decide that the debates about the succession of a pope could occur three days only after him burried, and, in any case, not as he was still alive
*Boniface IV (608-615)
He was the son of a physician, and a monk. He succeeded pope Boniface III after that the Roman seat had vacated over 9 months. He had been an administrator for Rome under pope Gregory I. He obtained from the Byzantine emperor the leave to transform the pagan Pantheon temple into a Christian church, which he dedicated to the Virgin Mary and all the martyrs, in 609, placing there a whole number of bones taken from the Catacombs. That was the first ever such transformation. Plague, famine and floods heavily struck Rome again under his pontificate. It's under the pontificate of Boniface IV too that Muhamad began to preach Islam in Mecca
*Adeodatus I, or St. Deusdedit (615-18)
Saint. He was born in Rome, from a family of clerics. Charitable and zealous, he was elected pope after that he was a priest during 40 years and thus was an aged pope. He supported the clergy, which was getting impoverished due to the disorders of the time. Rome was stricken by an earthquake and leprosy during his pontificate. He might have been the first pope ever to seal his documents with a leaden bull. He kept favouring the secular clerics against the monks
*Boniface V (619-625)
A Neapolitan, he succeeded Adeodatus I after a vacancy of the Roman seat of more of one year. Pope Boniface V showed an affectionate concern for the Church of England. He would have taken a decree by which churches became places of refuge for criminals
*Honorius I (625-638)
A Campanian, he was condemned like a heretic by the 3rd council of Constantinople, in 680. He had opted for a moderate attitude towards the Monophysite heretics, being qualified thus of a monothelitist. He worked to restore and beautify the churches of Rome, as he repaired the aqueduct of Trajan. He kept supporting the evangelization of England as he brought the Irish Church to a common observation of the date of Easter
*Severinus (638-640)
He was a Roman. This pontificate marks the beginning of the question of the Monophysite heresy. Pope Severinus was not confirmed by the emperor in Byzantium as he had refused to sign a Monothelite profession of faith. The exarch of Ravenna came and plundered the Lateran Palace as Severinus stood firm. Pope Severinus had an apse built in the old St. Peter basilica. The epoch too is the one of the first fights between the Byzantines and the Arabs
*John IV (642-649)
He had been born in Dalmatia, current days Croatia, as the son of a barrister. He was worried by the invasion of his native country by the Slavs. He endeavoured to protect the inhabitants there, and the relics of the saints, and to convert the invaders. He re-asserted to the Irish Church the date of Eastern and warned them against the Pelagian heresy, as he condemned the mitigated Monothelism. He defended Honorius' memory
*Theodore I (642-649)
A Greek of Jerusalem and the son of a bishop, his whole pontificate was dedicated to the fight against the Monothelist heresy. His endeavours however had no influence in Constantinople self as this brought to a grave conflict with one of the patriarch there, and with the Byzantine emperor himself. Theodore I was the first pope to bear the title of 'pontiff'
*Martin I (649-655)
A martyr. He had been born in Todi. He continued the fight against the monothelist, Byzantine emperor-supported heresy and he convoked, without that his election be confirmed by the emperor, a council in the Lateran church. The struggle, thence, worsened with the emperor trying to have him assassinated, and then he had the pope arrested and brought into Constantinople, in 653. He was judged there, after 3 months of a crual imprisonment. The emperor however eventually did not dare to condemn him to death and he exiled hims in Cherson, Crimea, in 654, where the pope died
*Eugene I (654-657)
A saint. The Byzantine emperor had a successor to be elected to replace Martin I, as the latter was still alive, in August 654. The emperor eventually ordered the new pope to enter in communion with the patriarch of Constantinople. The Romans, assembled in the church of St. Mary Major, contemptuously rejected the order, bringing to heavy threats by the Byzantines envoys. Those however could not be put to work, as the Arabs meanwhile were besieging Rhodes (654)
*Vitalian (657-672)
A saint. The beginning of Vitalian's pontificate was marked by a form of political pacification in the relationship with Byzantium, with the question of the Monothelist heresy not settled however. Such an improvement had the emperor coming in Italy to fight against the Lombards, as he was kindly received by the pope, in 663. He was however assassinated in Sicily on his way back home. Vitalian supported his son, Constantine IV Pogonatus, as he tried to have him to put an end to the schism as the new emperor was not prone to use force to keep supporting the heretics. Such a definitive solution however did not occur. Pope Vitalian was more successfull in England, with, in 663, the council of Whitby, confirming the unity of the Church of England and its faithfull allegiance to Rome. The Angles, at Whitby decided to accept the Roman form of the tonsure and the common date of Easter. It's Vitalian who sent into England, like the new archbishop of Canterbury, in 668, Theodore of Tarsus, along with Hadrian. Pope Vitalian intervened too in the affairs of the Eastern Churches
*Adeodatus II (or Deodatus II) (672-676)
He was a Benedictine monk. He dealt with monastic discipline and the fight against the Monthelite heresy. He is called Adeodatus when Pope Adeodatus is called, occasionally, Deusdedit. He was generous towards the poors and the pilgrims. He granted Venice the right to chose the doge
*Donus (676-678)
A Roman. Elected like the successor to the previous after an interval of four month and a half. He embellished and repaired the basilicae and churches in Rome. Under his pontificate, the archbishop of Ravenna returned to the obedience of the Holy See. Some Nestorian monks were discovered in Rome, in a house of Syrians, and the pope had them dispersed into the various monasteries of the City as he had their monastery given to Roman monks. During his pontificate, relations with Byzantium tended to conciliatory
*Agatho (678-681)
A saint. It seems he really was a Benedictine monk, in Palermo, Sicily as it's likely too that he was above 100 years of age when elected pope. He supported St. Wilfred, the archbishop of York in his controversy with Theodore of Canterbury. The 6th ecumenical council (the 3rd council of Constantinople) took place under his pontificate, in 680, putting an end to the Monothelite heresy. The Byzantine emperor, originally, wanted to have this council to heal the separation between the Eastern, and Western Churches. Agatho is known to have performed numerous miracles, being called, thus, 'Thaumaturgus', or 'Wonderworker'. He was affable and charitable. His memory is celebrated by the Greeks too. He substracted the Church of Rome from the tax due to Byzantium
*Leo II (681-683)
A saint. He was originating from Sicily. Negociations keeping about the relations between Byzantium and the pontifical elections delayed his accession to the pontificate to 1 year and 7 months after Agatho's death. He confirmed the acts of the 3rd council of Constantinople of 680 and made them known to the West. He explained that pope Honorius I had been condemned by the council not because he was an heretic himself but because he had not fight enough against the heresy. The Spanish Church met into the council of Toledo, in 684, and adopted the decisions taken in the council of Constantinople. Pope Leo II definitively set the question of the will of the archbishops of Ravenna to become independent as he obtained from the Byzantine emperor, Constantine Pogonatus, that he revoked a decree by a former emperor, Constans. Leo II was just, charitable and a scholar. As he conceded that pope Honorius had justly been condemned by the council, he eventually had the Byzantine control over Rome being alleviated
*Benedict II (684-685)
A saint. A Roman by origin. He was a distinguished pupil of the schola cantorum of Rome and was pecularly noted for his knowledge of the Scriptures and his performance in singing. He was humble, poors-loving and generous. Another 11 months elapsed since the death of Pope Leo II as, to abridge such delays, Benedict obtained from the Byzantine emperor Constantine Pogonatus a decree which either abolished that need for the imperial confirmation of a pontifical election, or transfered it to the exarch only. He symbolically adopted both the sons of this emperor. He restored numerous churches in Rome. Benedict II encouraged the Spanish Church into adopting the decrees of the council of Constantinople and he kept fighting the Monothelists. Despite such a brief pontificate, Rome, at that epoch, kept getting free from the control of Byzantium
*John V (685-686)
A Syrian by origin. As he spoke Greek, he was, as a deacon, a legate of the pope to the 3rd council of Constantinople. It was he who brought back the acts of the council into Rome. As he had gotten the favour of the Byzantine emperor Constantine Pogonatus, that made that the emperor alleviated the miscellaneous taxes which were levied upon the pope's domain in Sicily and Calabria, or the Church generally. John V was an energic pope, a scholar, a moderate and generous towards his clergy and the poors. The contemporaries had a bad opinion of him and a long illness had him passing most of his pontificate in his bed
*Conon (686-687)
He was the son of an officier of Thracian troops and he was raised in Sicily and later became a priest in Rome. He was elected like a pope like a compromise candidate as the clergy of Rome and the military there were opposing about who to elect the pope. He encouraged St. Killian and his companions to missionarize in Franconia. A new emperor in Constantinople, Justinian II, accepted to receive the acts of the 3rd council of Constantinople, and he kept alleviating the taxing perceived from the pope's domains. Conon died after a long illness
*Sergius I (687-701)
A saint. At the death of Conon, tow factions of the clergy of Rome competed for the papacy as most of the clerics and the people however choose Sergius. He was a native of Antioch and had been raised in Sicily. He had deep relations with the Church of England, like he baptized King Caedwalla, the king of the Western Saxons, in 689, he favoured the Venerable Bede or he consecrated St. Willibrord like a bishop and sent him to missionarize among the Frisians. Struggles with Constantinople were back at that epoch, due to the violent emperor Justinian II, who was willing that the pope accept the act of a so-called council in 692, authorizing the Greek priests and deacons to keep the legitimate wife they might have had before being ordained, and which, above all, were placing the patriarch of Constantinople at equality of rank with the pope! As Sergius I rejected the demand, the emperor sent an officer to arrest him but the people of the Roman territories defended him, as Justinian II was deposed few after, in 695. Sergius I restored and adorned numerous basilica in Rome and he added the Agnus Dei to the Mass. A longer pontificate thus had only led to renew the conflicts with Constantinople

flèche retour Popes of The 8th Century

*John VI (701-705)
A Greek. A form of a conflict opposed the Roman militia to the Exarch of Sicily as he had come to a visit in Rome and, despite that John VI managed to bring the calm back, the Lombards took that occasion of that want of harmony between the pope and the Byzantines to keep seizing territories and cities at the disadvantage of the territories of the pope. The pope had no choice but to buy the retreat of Duke Gisulf, of Benevento. The question of the bishopric of St. Wilfred of York is seen still pending under John VI and it seems thus that the papacy have continued to have dense relations with the Church of England
*John VII (705-707)
He was from a Greek origin, as that was often the case for the popes during that the Byzantine influence exerted upon Rome. He even was the son of the imperial architect in Rome, in charge of the palace on the Palatine Hill. Under the brief reign of John VII, the papacy tended back to fall under the control of Constantinople as the period stretching between 685 (John V) and 752 (Zachary) is known under the name of the 'Byzantine captivity' with all the popes then, Gregory II excepted, being of eastern, or Byzantine extraction. Albeit a scholar and eloquent, John VII was of a timorous character. When Justinian II, who was back to power in Constantinople, sent the pope back the decrees of the so-called council of 692, John VII could not do more than to send them back without any criticism. The Lombards, under the reign, translated back to the pope the patrimonies they had taken from the papacy in the Cottian Alps. Pope John VII, on the other hand, tended to have less sympathetic relations with the Anglo-Saxon clerics
*Sisinnius (Jan.-Feb. 708)
A Syrian by origin. He reigned three weeks only. Suffering from the gout he was unable to feed himself as he had a strong character however. He wanted to have the walls of Rome repaired
*Constantine (sometimes Constantin I) (708-715)
He was a Syrian by origin, and affable. As Rome was stricken by a famine during the first part of the reign, it was then treated with a great abundance in the second part of it. Two Anglo-Saxon kings, Coenred of Mercia, and Offa of the East Saxons came in Rome like pilgrims and converted to monks. The Byzantine emperor Justinian convoked the pope in Constantinople, still about the question of the so-called council of 692, in 709. It seems like the pope, when he met the emperor approved all what he did not disapprove formally and talks were led by the future pope Gregory II. Justinian was deposed in 711 by Philippicus Bardanes, who wanted to come back the monothelism. The pope condemned the move in a synode as the opposition kept, the emperor nullifying the decrees of the 3rd council of Constantinople and a new duke sent to Rome. Philippicus however was deposed by the new emperor Anastasius who came back to the orthodoxy, in 713. The patriarch of Constantinople, further, recognized the supremacy of the pope as he tried too get his liability off the move back to the monothelism. Pope Constantine consecrated numerous bishops. Albeit of an Eastern origin, this pope maintained the independency of Rome from Byzantium
*Gregory II (also Gregory the Younger) (715-731)
A saint. Gregory II was one of the great popes of the 8th century. He was a Roman. The Eastern scholars confounded him with Gregory I and called him 'Dialogus'. Gregory II entered very young in the schola cantorum and he gradually ascended the scales of the Roman offices (of them, the care of the library). His faculties and his character made that pope Constantine chosed him to go with him in Byzantium for talks with the emperor about the so-called council of 692, where he played a very important role. As soon as he was chosen pope, Gregory II endeavoured to repair the walls of Rome, as, beyond the Lombards, a new threat has appeared in the Western Mediterranean, the one of the Saracens. This work however could not be performed until its end (as it was interrupted eventually, among others, by a flood of the Tiber river). It is possible that the Saracen threat was closely monitored by Gregory II and that he sent encouragements to the Frankish leaders who, then, were actively opposing to their advance into Gaul. High ranking pilgrims came in Rome under Gregory's pontificate, like numerous Anglo-Saxons (of them Abbot Ceolfrid, or King Ina -who founded the 'Schola Anglorum'), and the duke Theodo I of Bavaria (he likely obtained more missionaries for his domains; the pope, thus, sent to him St. Corbibian, and, above all, St. Boniface). Gregory thus is the pope who encouraged St. Boniface in his endeavour of bringing the Gospel in Germany as the pope had the Frankish leader Charles Martel interested into the project too. The pope strongly support the monastic life, and he had the Abbey of the Monte Cassino restored. As he had began to have good relations with the Lombards (the king, then, followed the counsels of the pope in terms of the laws he elaborated, and the pope might have too bought the peace with them in exchange of thirty pounds of gold), varied Lombard dukes -with or against the agreement of their king- took possession of the Greek territories in Italy. As the exarch, in Ravenna, could not do anything, pope Gregory appealed to Charles Martel, the duke of Franks but he could not, or did not want to come and help. The events however soon came to another subject, a grave one, as the new Byzantine emperor, Leo III (the Isaurian, or Iconoclastus), in 727, took back to the attacks against Rome. On the one hand he levied the Byzantine taxes back upon the Romans and the pontifical domains, and, on the other hand, he wanted to intervened in a grave way into the Church affairs, through his policy about the icons, which he wanted to forbid (this move is the first of the movement called the 'iconoclasm'). The conflict turned violent as, unexpectedly, it was the Lombards who came and supported the pope against the emperor, with the Greek territories in Italy siding the pope too. The pope came near to have a new emperor elected. Eutychius, the exarch, however wanted to put an end to this alliance between the Lombards and the pope (promising to help King Liutprand against the dukes of Benevento and Spoleto) as the strong influence of the ope forbade that. Gregory II however helped the exarch to regain Ravenna, which had fell into Lombard hands in 727. Despite Gregory II opposed Leo III on the question of the iconoclasm, along with his various political initiatives, he does not however is the landmark pope into more papal independency from the East. It is possible however that the papacy, under Gregory II, consciously began to exert the temporal power in Italy. An Italian council, in 727, proclaimed the true doctrine of the Church on the question of the icons
*Gregory III (731-741)
A saint. A Syrian. Gregory was acclaimed pope during the procession for the funerals of Gregory II, by the people, on the basis of his fame in terms of scholarship and virtue. A friend to the poors. Gregory III kept fighting the Byzantine emperor Leo III about the question of the iconoclasm and he held two synodes in Rome in 731. He further emphatized a cult to the images and the relics in Rome. Leo III, facing the opposition of both the West and the East, just answered with force only, seizing the papal domains in Calabria and Sicily and wherever he could do in Italy and he made to be transfered to the patriarchate in Constantinople the jurisdiction the pope had had about them, and about Illyricum. Pontifical legates were arrested as the artists of Byzantium came to seek refuge in Rome, bringing with them the eastern Byzantine art, which was encouraged by the Church. At the request of Boniface, Gregory III kept supporting his missionarizing work in Germany and authorized him to create new bishoprics there, as he further sent the cousin of Boniface, St. Willibald, to help (the latter missionarized in Bohemia). It was under the reign of Gregory III that Charles Martel defeated the Saracens in Poitiers, Gaul and he had the victory announced to the pope. The pope thus granted Charles with the title of 'Much Christian', which was then bore by the Frankish and French rulers and kings. The king of the Saxons came in pilgrimage in Rome as, once back in his domains, he instituted the 'obole to St Peter' over his subjects, like a yearly alm. The Lombard affairs took back by the end of the pontificate (and the pope understood that Liutprand became a danger). The pope had to be ended the restoration of the walls of Rome. He had too taken back the stronghold of Gallese from the duke of Spoleto so the communications with Ravenna be guaranteed. Liutprand, in 739, too the field against Ravenna, his vassals in Benevento and Spoleto, and against Rome! Gregory III then called Charles Martel for help who, this time, sent ambassadors who managed to pacify the conflict. Liutprand however came back to the fight the following year (as the Romans helped the duke of Spoleto, who, once victorious, did not want, or couldn't however help the papacy to regain 4 cities which had been lost in the duchy of Rome). It's amidst those troubles and wars that Gregory III died, in 741. Albeit the causes may be unclear -the iconoclast crisis likely- the estrangement from Byzantium kept under this pope (with Gregory III, for example, being the last of the popes to ask the exarch for his mandate once elected). The pope however kept too to support the Byzantines against the Lombards. Gregory III, at last, beautified Rome and was too a support for the monks
*Zachary (741-752)
He originated from a Greek family in Calabria. He seems to already have been a deacon at the time of council of 732. He was of a gentle and conciliatory character, shrewd and charitable towards the Roman clergy and the poors. His character allowed him to numerous successes during his reign. The situation in Byzantium is relatively embroiled as Leo III had died in 741 and his son Constantine V Copronymus had been deposed by Artabasdus, who came back to the icons. Constantine V however retook power and came back to iconoclasm as he seems to have had a conciliatory attitude towards to the envoys of the pope. The pressure of the Lombards (with Charles Martel, the duke of Franks dying in October 741) is keeping and Zachary decided to leave the alliance with the Duke of Spoleto who had not respected his engagements during the previous fights, and to negociate personally and directly with the king Liutprand. He managed thus to obtain the return of the territories which had been taken since 30 years, and a truce of 20 years. Such negociations really set firm the pope like the temporal ruler over Rome and the possessions. The pope, then, even manage to turn Liutprand from Ravenna. King Liutprand died however in 744 and his successor, who might have been more agressive, is deposed by Ratchis, who is closer still to the pope. Ratchis however, in 749, after he besieged Perusa abdicated and, with his spouse and daughter, he turned to the monastic life. His brother, and successor, Aistolf respects the truce but he eventually takes Ravenna, putting thus a definitive end to the Byzantine exarchate. In terms of Church matter, pope Zachary hold a synod, in 743, about the fact that the German peoples were saying to have been dispensated from the parenthood impeachment up to the 4th degree in the domain of marriage. St. Boniface kept evangelizing in Germany and to be in the best terms with Rome (he created there the bishoprics of Wurzburg, Buraburg, and Erfurt). St. Boniface too wanted to gather a synod for the Frankish Church to remedy for the abuses of the life of the clergy, under the direction of Carloman. Pope Zachary established Boniface like the papal legate for the synod. St. Boniface too named (with the papal confirmation) the metropolitan bishops in Rouen, Reims and Sens as two heretics, Adelbert and Clement, are condemned. That Frankish synod was held in 745 at the call of Pipin and Carloman. The case of the heretics kept being taken on and they were anathemized by the pope. The pope gladly answered to the questions by Pipin and the Frankish bishops about the discipline of the Frankish clerics and about the Christian people of the Frankish dominions (Boniface keeps playing a role in those cases too, as one sees that he has become then of the most importance, having become the envoy of the pope both in Germany, and in the Frankisk domains too). Carloman, in 747, decided to make himself a monk in Italy, where he eventually settled at the Monte Cassino. Those efforts by St. Boniface eventually made that the Frankish Church re-aligned itself on the wishes of Rome. The moral prestige that the pope gained through all these events in the West was well seen when Pipin called for Rome to decide about the end of the Merovingians, sending his envoys the bishop Burkard ofWürzburg and his chapelain, Folrad, of St. Denis. It was St. Boniface who consecrated Pipin in 751, inaugurating a policy of strong alliance between the Franks and Rome. Pope Zachary is active too in England, with the synod of Cloveshove, in 747, reforming the Church and aligning it too on Rome. The pope restored the churches in Rome, and the palace of Lateran. Pope Zachary was active too against the slaves traders of Venice who brought their slaves to Rome before taking them to the Sarracenes of North Africa as he bought the slaves to prevent Christians from becoming the slaves of heathens. Zachary at last was active too in terms of theological studies and he translated into Greek the 'Dialogues' of Gregory the Great, with the work widely spread in the East
*Stephen II (or III if Stephen II is counted) (752-757)
A Stephen was elected after Zachary's death as he died three days after and not being considered pope (albeit sometimes numbered Stephen II). Stephen II (or III) was from a rich aristocratic family of Rome as he was the first Italian pope back after a long series of popes of Eastern origin. Since his election he immediately had to face the Lombards who, that time, wanted to put whole the Italy under their sway. The pope first made appeal to Byzantium -in vain, despite a joint embassy- and then he tried to rein in the Lombards through money and it was eventually the Franks of Pipin which became the defensors of the papacy. Pope Stephen II himself went in Gaul, in Ponthion, to the court of Pipin as, further, he confirmed Pipin like the new king of Franks and consecrated his both sons Carloman and Charles, in July 754. In Qierzy, Pipin promised his help to the pope and that Ravenna and the territories of the exarchate will be returned to him. As the embassies sent from France to the Lombard king Aistolf remained vain too, Pipin took the passes of the Alps and obliged him to swear to render Ravenna and the other cities he had taken (754). However, once Pipin leaving, Aistolf raises his army back and besiege Rome, in January 756. Pipin crosses the Alps again and submit the Lombard king again. The pope Stephen II thus is re-instated in Ravenna and the cities of the Pentapolis -which, eventually, officializes the fact that the pope has become a temporal ruler. Aistolf does die in 756, as he prepared for a new war and the power becomes disputed between his brother, Ratchis, who had become a monk at the Monte Cassino in 749, and Desiderius, duke of Istria. The latter is searching the support of the pope in exchange for rendering other cities which had staid under Lombard control, and money. The pope reminds Ratchis of his monastic woes, thus managing to maintain the peace (757). Desiderius hold his engagements partially only, keeping Bologna, and Imola. Nothing new occurs during Stephen II's reign with Byzantium about the question of the icons. Pope Stephen II did restore many old churches of Rome and he was remarkably keen to the poors, building hospitals for them near the St. Peter basilica (as soon as before he had been the pope, like a deacon, Stephen II had administered such hospitals). The reign of Stephen II seems a turning point for the relations between Rome and Byzantium. The question of the iconoclasm had largely already strained them as the Byzantine empire is pressured by the push of the Abassids and the Bulgars
*Paul I (757-767)
A saint. He was the brother to pope Stephen II and he had helped him in the affairs of the reign. Paul was chosen pope, against a Theophylact supported by a faction in Rome, by a majority of Romans who wanted that the previous policy of Stephen II be maintained. Paul I did so with the question of the Frankish help, the Roman territories and against the Lombards and the Byzantines. Desiderius, who had not rendered some cities like he had promised, ravages the Pentapolis as he leads and expedition against the rebelled dukes of Spoleto and Benevento in 758. He eventually concludes an alliance with the Byzantine ambassador, to a joint attack against the duchy of Rome. Desiderius further pressures the pope by threatening him in case he could not obtain the release of hostages Pipin had taken during his campaigns. As he has troubles to communicate with the Franks, the pope manages to send envoys there near Pipin. After a following embassy, Pipin send the bishop Remidius, of Rouen, his brother and duke Antschar, in 760, to Desiderius, who promises to surrender the disputed territories in April, which he doesn't do and he threatens Rome instead. The Byzantines, as far as they are concerned, had sent an amabassador to Pipin to bring him to change his mind and the tension eventually rises between them and the Franks. The Byzantines tried too to have the inhabitants of Venice and Ravenna to return under their sway from their own will. Pipin manages to have Desiderius to pacify his intentions and to temporarily accept that the question of the pontifical territories to be pacified. The Lombards even accept to help the pope to regain territories against the Byzantines in southern Italy and to affirm his rights against the Greek bishops there. The possible conflict between the pope and Byzantium, at that moment, however, mainly is in terms of religion only, on the question of the iconoclasm (with numerous monks fleeing to Rome) and the doctrine of Trinity. New byzantine ambassadors to the Franks try to flatter Pipin as they propose to him a direct negociation about the icons and their right to Ravenna. Papal legates, who came too to the Franks, are able to see that the position of Pipin did not falter (and a synod, in 767 in Gentilly, of the Frankish Church reasserts the Church doctrine about the icons and the Trinity). Pope Paul I did dedicate too much time to Rome (of it the transfer of the relics of St. Petronilla, which came to be considered, at the time, like the daughter of St Peter and who became the special Roman patroness for the Franks -who already venerated her much) as he built new churches and oratories. The pope died near St. Paul Out of the Walls where he had come to flee the summer heat. The pontificate of Paul I marked the perpetuation of the alliance between the Franks and the papacy but in a more subtile atmosphere (with the pope keeping to confront Byzantium in terms of religion only, Pipin worrying that the pope accept to be the sponsor of his daughter, Gisela) and it is possible that one begins to see factions in Rome. It is possible too that the alliance with the Franks be above all on the basis of the Lombard threats. Pipin too tend to a form of hesitating as he maintained relatively good relations with Desiderius. The agressive stance of Byzantium, which, at a moment, threatens to send his fleet into Italy and against the Franks, eventually brings the things like they were under Stephen II
*Stephen III (768-772)
The succession to Paul I was conflictual with a body of Tuscan noblemen pushing Constantine, a layman and brother to primicerius Christopher unto the chair of Peter by June, 767 as Christopher managed to flee Rome by the spring of 768, deposing the usurpers with the help of Lombards. Some of Lombards, on the other hand, had also clandestinely elected a monk, Philip like a pope. Christopher eventually had elected and consecrated by August 768 Stephen, a Sicilian and Benedictine monk who had been ordained priest by Pope Zachary and gradually had risen to high office in the service of successive popes. Usurpers were eliminated as a Lateran council in April 769, forbade laymen to be elected popes or to take part in their election for the future and only cardinals were to be chosen popes. Under the reign of Stephen, papacy looks like it preferred a Lombard, to a Frankish, alliance albeit Charlemagne and Carloman allowed the pope to recover some territories. King Desiderius of the Lombards likely tried to circonvene Charlemagne by arranging his marriage with his daughter and effected the fall of the pope's chief ministers, Christopher and his son Sergius, allying himself too with Afiarta, Stephen's chamberlain. The Lateran council also voided acts of Constantine II and condemned iconoclasts
*Adrian I (772-795)
Adrian I reigned a length of about 34 years, unequalled by that of any successor until a thousand years later. Roman of a noble extraction he was elected pope despite chamberlain Afiarta who representend the interests of Lombard king Desiderius as he had rendered valuable services rendered during the pontificate of Paul I and Stephen III and gained the esteem of his unruly countrymen. Adrian frankly turned to a steadfast resistance to the Lombards who were assessing that time was propitious for subjecting all Italy as Charlemagne was hindered by the Saxon war and that Carloman's widow and sons were in Pavia. Adrian I thus, along with Charlemagne are the protagonists through which that did not happen. Instead of complying to the Lombard wish to have Carloman's sons annointed, Adrian I strengthened the fortifications of Rome, called to the aid of the militia the inhabitants of the surrounding territory, and summoned Charles to hasten to the defence as the Lombard army was advancing. That led to the major intervention of Charles into Italy since autumn 773, scaling the Alps, seizing Verona and besieging Desiderius in Pavia, his capital. By next spring Charles himself went to Rome with a strong detachment to Rome, in order to celebrate the festival of Easter and performing the famed 'Donation of Charlemagne', laying down for 11 centuries the base of the temporal power of popes over the Papal States, which was two-third of Italy. That power however, at that instant, was a little more than nominal only. Two months later, Pavia fell and the kingdom of the Lombards came to a end, freeing papacy from its persistent and hereditary foe. The personal veneration of Charlemagne to Adrian, who he called his father and best friend, made that he gained and regained through repeated expeditions the territories he had gifted the pope with. In terms of the Church proper, Adrian I was also a great pope as he cooperated with Empress Iren and presiding in 787, through his legates, the 7th, General,Nicaea Council. The Catholic doctrine regarding the use and veneration of images was definitely proclaimed. That council however was, for cause of a defective translation, and political motives, opposed to in the Frankish world as a strong refutation of 'Libri Carolini' was made by the pope, causing a diminution of friendship with Charles and the quarrel still unsettled at Adrian's death. Synods and writings also vigoroulsy opposed to the nascent heresy of Adoptionism, which was one of the few Christological errors originated by the West. Pope Adrian I also embellished the city of Rome and restored some of the ancient aqueducts. He was buried in St. Peter. By 787, the pope tried to balance the ecclesiastical power in England between Kent and Mercia. Adrian I rule, generally, along with his association to Charlemagne, may be considered a turning point in the history of the papacy and Adrian must be considered the real founder of the popes temporal sovereignty. Adrian stroke the earliest papal coin as he no longer dated his documents by the Emperor in the East, but by the reign of Charles, king of Franks! Like a symbol of this power in Rome he also founded the Domusculta Capracorum, a villa assembled from a nucleus of his inherited estates and acquisitions from neighbors in the countryside north of Veii
*Leo III (795-816)
Saint. Hastily elected the day Adrian I was buried, that might hint to a desire of the Romans to avoid any interference by the Franks in the election. Seemingly vestarius, chief of the pontifical treasury, or wardrobe, he however informed Charlemagne of his election, sending too the keys of the confession of St. Peter, and the standard of the city of Rome. Charlemagne answer came with a great part of the treasure captured from the Avars. A number of relatives of pope Adrian I formed a plot against Leo who further was of a humble extract. On the occasion of the procession of the Greater Litanies, by April 25th, 799, a body of armed men attacked the pope and tried to root out his tongue and blind him. Protected by Magnus Forteman and 700 Frisian nobles of his army, and escaping from Rome he journeyed towards the court of Charles, accompanied by many of the Romans, at Paderborn. Albeit his ennemies had tried to circonvene Charles, the latter, after a few months, had the pope escorted back to Rome as Frankish envoys tried the conspirators but unable to establish who's guilt from the pope. By the following year, in 800 A.D., Charlemagne himself took to Rome, bringing the accusators and the pope face to face as Leo III finally chose to declared on oath that he was wholly guiltless of the charges which had been brought against him. A few days later, on Christmas Day, in St. Peter, after the Gospel was sung, the pope placed a crown upon the head of Charles who was kneeling before the Confession as the multitude shouted 'To Charles, the most pious Augustus, crowned by God, to our great and pacific emperor life and victory!' That act simply was reviving the Empire in the West and Church was declaring that the world subject to one temporal head. Leo, after that, endeavoured to combine the East and West under the effective rule of Charlemagne, with the project of a marriage between him and the Eastern empress Irene as her deposition in 801 prevented that project. Leo again came to Charles and, in 804 as two years later, he was invited to assent concerning the partition of the Empire between the sons of Charles. Other joint actions were taken in the West between Charles and Leo, like the combat against Adoptionism, as Charles even wanted the general insertion of the Filioque in the Nicene Creed. Leo accepted the Filioque like a true doctrine but refused to insert it into the Creed. Leo III kept intervening into the affairs of England, like helping restore King Eardwulf of Northumbria. As far as Byzantium is concerned, Leo approved the stance of monks who opposed to the lax principles of patriarch Tarasius in the case of the divorce of Emperor Constantine VI and, when Emperor Michael I eventually came to the Byzantine throne, he ratified the treaty between him and Charlemagne which was to secure peace for East and West. During Leo III pontificate, did the pope and the Frankish emperor keep to act in concert and the Frankish ruler acting like the protector of the Church, and overlording the city of Rome. Corsica's guard against the Saracens was entrusted to Charles or Italian coastlines were guarded by a papal fleet of war. That lead to that when Charles died in 814 A.D., a new conspiracy formed again or nobles of Campagna plundered the country, those endeavours only halted by pope's swift response or the Duke of Spoleto, acting under the orders of the King of Italy. The treasure of the Avars allowed Leo III to a efficient helper of the poor and a patron of art, and to renovate the churches, not only of Rome, but even of Ravenna, adding with mosaics

flèche retour Popes of The 9th Century

*Stephen IV (816-817)
The son of Marinus, from the same noble Roman family which gave two other popes. He had been patronized by Hadrian I and Leo III and he was elected pope immediately after Leo III's death, by June, 816. He might have began to place papacy under the supervision of Charlemagne's heir, Emperor Louis the Pious having the Romans taking a oath to him like their suzerain and sending to him a notice of his election. After that, he went to Frankland to crown Louis in Reims, and granted the pallium to Theodulf of Orléans, one of the emperor's chief advisers. He brought back with him a number of exiles whom political reasons had sent into exile during the pontificate of Leo III. He did not continue however his predecessor policies favoring clerics over lay aristocracy
*Paschal I (817-824)
The son of a Roman named Bonosus, he was trained at the Lateran Palace and appointed by Leo III superior of the monastery of St. Stephen near the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, taking care of pilgrims coming to Rome. He was unanimously chosen like the successor to Stephen IV as he sent several embassies to Emperor Louis the Pious who, by 817, sent him the 'Pactum Ludovicianum' which confirmed the rights and possessions of the Holy See. At the occasion of the marriage of King Lothair I, son of Louis, Paschal I sent a special legation with gifts and he crowned Lothair by April 823 when the latter had come to Rome. Under his pontificate, the fact that there is in Rome a party supporting the Franks, and advocating the supremacy of the emperor is clearly appearing, with high officials in the papal palace, like primicerius Theodore and his son-in-law Leo Nomenculator its head, as the pope himself opposed the sovereignty of the Frankish rulers over Rome, a situtation which likely existed since previous popes. A obscure affair had both these officials blinded and killed by pope's servants as a transaction was found about the perpetrators between Paschal I and the Frankish ambassadors. Louis the Pious in any case transfered to papacy the possession of Corsica and Sardinia. Paschal began supporting a new missionary movement towards northern Europe, appointed for example Archbishop Ebo of Rheims as a papal legate to the pagan countries and evangelize Danes. The time also was to a renewed episode of the Iconoclastic controversy, by 814, when a unlawfull patriarch had been appointed by Emperor Leo the Armenian and the pope was supporting Theodore of Studium, the great champion of orthodoxy. Greek monks again were welcome in newly-built Roman monasteries. Churches and monasteries in Rome kept being completed, restored or beautified under the pontificate of Paschal like a sign of keeping on with the will since Adrian I to confirm Rome like the seat of papacy as a deterioration of know-how in terms of mosaics is seen. The remains of Roman martyrs were transfered into churches or St-Peter too
*Eugene II (June 6th, 824-August 27th, 827)
By Paschal's death, the Roman nobility proponents of Franks managed to have Eugene, their candidate, elected against a one of the clergy. Like the archpriest of S. Sabina on the Aventine, a decree of 769, under Stephen IV denied him any share in a papal election. His election was seen by emperor Louis the Pious to improve the occasion, sending Lothair to Rome and bringing back or supporting noblemen who had been banished by Paschal I. Eventually, a concordat, or constitution, in 824 A.D., the 'Constitutio Romana', in 9 articles, officially set and reinforced the Frankish pretentions and power over the Holy See, like the pope-elect to be consecrated only in the presence of the emperor's envoys. Likely at the imitation of what had happened in Frankland, Eugene, since 826 wanted to advance learning among bishops and priests in sacred and polite literature. Albeit a wish of tolerance shown by Greek Emperor Michael II, the Iconoclastic question kept on as Byzantium tried to secure Louis the Pious support, who obtained from the pope leave to assemble Frankish bishops to elucidate question about icons the Greeks had sent to him, with a meeting in Paris by 825 leading to about nothing with a mass of confused and ill-digested texts from the Fathers, as they kept building upon a complete misunderstanding of the decrees of the Second Council of Nicaea. It is under Eugene II that Ansgar, the Apostle of Scandinavians were encouraged as the pope also took provisions for the care of the poor, widows and orphans
*Valentine (Aug.-Oct. 827)
A Roman by birth, he was a cleric who had won the favour of Paschal I who placed him as archdeacon at the head of the Roman diaconate as Valentine retained his influential position under the short reign of Eugene II. He was unanimously elected pope. He occupied the papal see 40 days only
*Gregory IV (827-844)
A Roman of high birth, the Cardinal-Priest of the Basilica of St. Mark, he was elected pope due to the choice of the Roman nobility which had now secure a preponderating influence in papal elections and kept recognizing the Frankish rule with the approbation of election forbade him to govern before March 828. The pontificate of Gregory IV unfolded amidst the quarrels between Louis and his sons about the succession to the Frankish empire which began by about 830. Lothair, one of Louis' son, was king of Italy as, under conditions which are unclear and as the pope likely wanted to promote peace, he managed to induce Gregory to appear with him in the camp of the rebels, having the Frankish bishops and Louis to be distrustful to him but Lothair later managed to have his father's soldiers betraying the emperor through the famed episode of the 'Field of Lies' near Colmar, France, to who the pope had been sent to negotiate. Lothair seized the empire and allowed Gregory to return to Rome, degrading Louis by 833. After a second fraternal quarrel and restoration of Louis, allowing Lothair remaining king of Italy, the latter aggressed the pope as a renewed quarrel began. Louis eventually died in June 840 as he was marching to put it down. The fratricide fights kept on until the battle of Fontenay, where Lothair, who was detaining the papal legate was defeated near Auxerre by 841 and most of Frankish warriors died heralding the collapse of the Frankish empire. Those quarrels eventually allowed the pope to loosen the papacy dependency upon the Franks, insisting upon the papacy being superior to the emperor. The Saracens at the time occupied Sicily and they were invited into South Italy to take part in the wars of the petty princes there. Gregory repaired aqueducts and churches and founded farm colonies in the Campagna, keeping too the second Ansgar efforts for the conversion of Swedes and making him the first archbishop of Hamburg or his legate 'among the Swedes, Danes and Slavs." Like his effort for peace Gregory had some Frankish clerics to be trained in music in Rome, instructing Louis the Pious to proclaim the observance of the feast of All Saints throughout the empire
*Sergius II (844-Jan. 27, 847)
Of a noble birth from a family which gave two other popes he had been trained in the schola cantorum and patronized by several popes. He was named the Cardinal-priest of the Church of Sts. Martin and Sylvester by Paschal. Under Gregory IV he became archpriest. Despite a opponent suscitated by the mob, he was elected pope due to the nobility. No notification was made to Emperor Lothair as the latter sent his son Louis, viceroy of Italy, with a army. Sergius halted him by crowning him king but refused to take any oath of fealty. He made Louis' adviser, Drogo, bishop of Metz, his legate for France and Germany in 844. A terrible raid of the Saracens nearly resulted in the capture of the City in 846 A.D, which was defended by the resistance of the scholae of the foreigners, sacking the basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul, only the walls of Rome preventing the one of Rome self. Churches, aqueducts, and the Lateran Basilica were improved under the reign of Sergius. Rumors state that simony developed too
*Leo IV (847-855)
A saint. A Roman he was elected pope and due to the sack of Rome in 846, no imperial consent was asked. Made a subdeacon by Gregory IV, Cardinal-Priest of the church of the Quatuor Coronati by Sergius II he took precautions against any new Saracen raid, repairing the walls of Rome, enclosing the Vatican hill too, into the so-called 'Leonine City,' fortifying too other cities and restoring churches and St-Peter. He received financial help from the emperor, and all the cities and agricultural colonies of the Duchy of Rome and fortifications were completed by 852. Hadrian's Mole, close to the Tiber River -which was to come to be known like the Castel of S. Angelo- marked one of the end of the Leonine City as the 'passeto', a covered, fortified passage which was a link to the immediate vicinity of the Vatican, was constituting a part of the wall. A new Arab fleet was destroyed off Ostia by the allied fleets of Rome and mariner cities Naples, Amalfi, and Gaeta, and by a tempest in 849. Leo IV renovated churches affected by the raid of 846. In terms of politics, in 850, Leo associated Louis with his father Lothair in the empire and in 853 he anointed in Rome child Alfred of England to king as that epoch turned to be one of dissociating factors, with refractory cardinals or archbishops in Italy or elsewhere, Britany parting in terms of the authority of the archbishop of Tours under duke Nomenoe, as he disputed Sicily with the patriarcate of Constantinople
*Benedict III (855-858)
Elected pope, envoys were dispatched to secure the ratification of election by the Emperors Lothaire and Louis II as the legates betrayed in favor of imperial, or local positions and had excommunicated Cardinal Anastasius elected, and Benedict imprisoned. Most of the clergy and people remaining trustful Benedict was reinstated but Louis II forced him to leniency towards rebels. Benedict however endeavoured to curb Hubert, a subdeacon and brother-in-law of Lothaire II, who was slained in 864. The Frankish empire meanwhile had fallen in disorder due to to dissensions from within and attacks from without and the Frankish Church was oppressed as Benedict III imputed the misery in the empire to the silence of bishops. Benedict later intervened into the conflict between the sons of Lothaire, kept firm towards Constantinople as he welcomed again Aethelwulf of Wessex and son, future king Alfred the Great, establishing Peterspence in England. He continued the work of repairing the damage done to the churches in Rome by the Saracen raid of 846. The troubled beginnings of his pontificate likely helped to weaken the hold of the emperors upon the papal elections. Between his reign and the one of Leo IV, a medieval rumor claims that Pope Joan, a woman disguised as a man, might have been Benedict III himself, or not, and likely a mere legend
*Nicholas I (858-867)
A saint. The son of Defensor Theodore, made a subdeacon by Pope Sergius II and deacon by Leo IV , he was elected in presence of Emperor Louis II, who was in the neighbourhood of Rome and came to exert his influence. During a short time since 830, when the troubles among the heirs to Louis the Pioux had begun, the Carolingian empire and Christendom in the West had swiftly fallen into a melancholic condition, with Church itself threatened of anarchy with many bishops worldly, unworthy their office, trying to force their law upon their bishops and priests and constituting a opposition to the pope, like forging pacts with faraway prelates in the same case and Christian morality despised, generally. Against Hincmar, archbishop of Reims, the pope disputed over relatively few important prerogatives, in apparence, of the papacy like papacy's right to causae majores, or important legal causes or a dispute about a nomination to a bishopry as Hincmar eventually acknowledged. Cases of marriage laws also allowed Nicholas I to assert the pope's authority like the wife of Count Boso, the marriage of Lothair II (even leading to the siege of Rome by the king and the involvement of Emperor Louis II), or Judith, daughter of Charles the Bold and Baldwin, Count of Flanders, his husband without her father's consent, as the pope had to quarrel with prelates to settle, or not, those cases. The pope kept supporting Anskar in his missionarizing work in the North as, in Constantinople, on the other hand, Patriarch Ignatius was deposed in 857 and Photius illegally raised, a Roman synod held in April 863 excommunicating Photius. Nicholas I with that background failed to have Bulgaria turning to Rome when, converted by Greek missionaries, Prince Boris, in 863 sent a series of 106 questions in Church matter to him. Towards the East which kept advancing in Sicily, Nicolas was seen like asserting a rulership instead of the position of highest honor among equals as viewed by Byzantium. Albeit Nicholas I endeavours looks like they were few effective, he is considered a decisive influence upon the historical development of the papacy and its rank in the West, defending the Roman Primacy in the Church. He looks like however that he was considered a stature of moral authority as Charles the Bald asked for his arbitrage when Louis the German invaded the Francia occidentalis or at the occasion of the revolt of his sons Louis and Charles. As soon as by the 11th century A.D., Nicolas is said like 'no bishop who was raised to the papal see in the City of Rome [since he was pope] may be compared to him.' During his reign, it looks like forged decretals circulated in the Frankish dominions
*Adrian II (867-872)
A cardinal, issued from a noble Roman family which already had given Stephen III and Sergius II to Rome, he was elected pope at a age of 75 years old. He strove to maintain peace among the incompetent descendants of Charlemagne with a view to mediate between them and assuring to the Emperor, Louis II, the heritage of Lothar II, Louis' brother or the independency of the papacy regarding the imperial power. He vigorously kept the policy of his predecessor concerning morality or the rights of papacy like he obliged king Lothair, in Monte Cassino, to a public oath that he would take back Theutberga and abide pope's decision as he upheld against Hincmar of Reims the unlimited right of bishops to appeal to Rome and the deposition of Hincmar brought to some distance with Charles the Bald. Such endeavours however confronted with the interference of emperor Louis II, who placed him under the surveillance of Arsenius, bishop of Orte, his confidential adviser, and the nephew of him, Anastasius, the librarian as Eleutherius, Anastasius' brother assassinated in 868 a wife and a daughter Adrian had married in his youth and living with him in the Lateran Palace. At the 8th, General Council of Constantinople in 869, convened there under new emperor Basil the Macedonian, and presided through 10 legates he settled the case of Photius and restored unity between the East and the West as Bulgarians definitively adhered to Constantinople. Working to preserve western Slavs from that fate, Adrian seconded saintly brothers Cyril and Methodius and their rendering of the liturgy into the Slavonic language
*John VIII (872-882)
Considered the last remarkable pope before two centuries later, a archdeacon, he reorganised the papal curia as Western rulers were unable or failed to help him against Saracens in Italy, which had Rome to tribute and colonies of Saracens establishing in southern Italy with local princes unfaithfull too. Against them he fortified St. Paul Outside-the-Walls or 'Johannipolis.' He kept supporting Methodius and Cyrillus against German princes and prelates. One result among the Slavs was that several of their tribes placed themselves under the protection of the Holy See. He crowned Louis II king of France in 878 and supported him. He anointed two Emperors, Charles the Bald (like a way to defend himself against Roman nobility and restoring a balance between the imperial and papal power) and Charles the Fat, he supported and crowned in February 881 after he had to flee Rome in 878 to Arles, proposing the Italy's crown to Louis the Stammerer or Boson, soon to be King of Provence. Charles the Fat was the last hope of restoring the Carolingian empire and deposed by 888. Rome, under John VIII had seen chief offices of the Church passing to disreputable nobles and their wifes, with Emperor Louis II patrons of some! Formosus, Bishop of Porto, and finally compromised with those, the case intermingled with the struggle for the Empire, as Lambert, duke of Spoleto, working for the interests of Carloman of Bavaria who was aspiring to the empire constantly harried his territory. John VIII let Photius be reinstated like the patriarch of Constantinople in 879 to avoid a schism as he is called the 'rector of Europe.' King of Mercia, Burhred or the Archbishop of Canterbury came to seek peace in Rome as England at the time was attached by Danes and worried by how Alfred the Great had now turned in his youth. He might well have been the first pope assassinated ever, poisoned and then killed with a hammer
*Marinus I (882-884)
Date of his election is uncertain as the agreement of Charles the Fat was not asked for. Ordained subdeacon by Leon IV and then deacon, he was sent on three important embassies to Constantinople as one of the legates presiding the 8th Council of Constantinople, under Adrian II. John VIII, made him Bishop of Cervetri, arcarius (treasurer) of the Roman Church, and archdeacon, as he was imprisoned in Constantinople. In Rome, he halted prosecution against Formosus and came back to opposition to Photius. He came in good terms with King Alfred of England
*Adrian III (884-885)
A saint. Of Roman extraction he died near Modena on his way to the diet summoned in Worms by Charles the Fat to determine the succession to the Empire and discuss the rising Saracen power
*Stephen V (885-891)
Issued from the Roman aristocracy, and maybe from the Colonna family, his father entrusted his education to his relative, Bishop Zachary, librarian of the Holy See. Stephen was created cardinal-priest of SS. Quattro Coronati by Marinus I. His election was not imperially confirmed. He drawed upon his family wealth to support the poor during a famine in Rome caused by a drought and locusts. He crowned Guido III, Count of Spoleto Emperor in 891 and recognized Louis the Blind King of Provence. He recalled to order such prelates like the Archbishop of Lyons, of Bordeaux and Ravenna, and he resisted the attacks of Photius, having him eventually confined in a monastery, and even calling Byzantine Emperor Leo for warships and soldiers to ward off raids of Saracens. Stephen V kept good relationships with England
*Formosus (891-896)
Maybe from a Corsican family, named by Nicholas I as cardinal-bishop of Porto in 864, one of both legate to Bulgaria, then envoy in Francia occidentalis to bade Charles the Bald to the Empire but proponent of Louis the German, he eventually fell with those chief offices, disreputable nobles under John VIII, and he flew with those in western Francia. He spent years in Sens until Marinus I allow him back to Rome and his see. He was elected to succeed Stephen in 891. The decline of the Carolingian empire now had increased still as, Charles the Fat deposed in 888, Arnulf of Carinthia, the nominee of Germans was unable to restore unity with Greats in Francia occidentalis like Eudes, becoming a king or Louis, son of Boson ruler of Provence, Rudolf, grandson of Louis the Pious in North Burgundy and in Italy, Berengar of Friaul (defeated by Guido of Spoleto, assuming the title of king). Taken among such threatening troubles, Formosus, King Arnulf unable to come to Rome, consequently was compelled to recognize and crown Guido and his son Lambert Roman Emperor on April 892 as papacy appeared like involved in the time. Formosus likely closed to Arnulf, pressing him to help Charles the Simple for the French crown against Eudes as the German king eventually accepted to march to Rome and liberate Italy in 894 against Guido and his son, being coronated emperor in 896 but dying shortly after when on the way to Spoleto, struck with paralysis. Formosus died in April 896. His reign marked the beginning of a era of strife for political supremacy in Italy
*Boniface VI (896)
A Roman, elected in 896 by the Roman faction in a popular tumult he succeeded Formosus. He died after a pontificate of 15 days only either dying of the gout or ejected to make way for Stephen VI, the candidate of the Spoletan party. At the Council of Rome, John IX in 898 pronounced his election void. He had twice incurred a sentence of deprivation of orders, as a subdeacon and as a priest
*Stephen VI (896-897)
A Roman, consecrated Bishop of Anagni by Formosus, likely the candidate of the Spoletan party, once pope in May 896, he had the body of Formosus to be exhumed, and in January 897, placed for trial before an unwilling synod of the Roman clergy and a deacon answering for the deceased pontiff, a synod called remember like the 'Cadaver Synod', or 'Synodus Horrenda.' Emperor Lambert of Spoleto and his mother Agiltrude meanwhile had recovered their authority upon Rome as renouncing claim to Upper and Central Italy. The corpse was condemned as Formosus had performed the functions of a bishop once deposed and passing from the see of Porto to which of Rome. The corpse was then stripped of its sacred vestments, deprived of two fingers of its right hand which he had used for consecration, clad in the garb of a layman, and ultimately thrown into the Tiber. Stephen VI too forced several of those who had been ordained by Formosus to resign their offices. He was soon put to death by strangulation after he had been imprisoned during a popular tumult which had been triggered due to repulsion suscitated by the scandalous synod
*Romanus (897)
Nor the dates of his consecration as pope and of his death are known. He was born at Gallese, and became cardinal of St. Peter ad Vincula. He was elected pope to succeed to Stephen VI but he died as soon as by late 897. It is possible he was deposed by one of the factions which then distracted Rome and made a monk. As during dark ages the patrician families in Rome or Italy had taken refuge in their domains in the coutryside, some form of stability returning under the Carolingians, or some trade routes reviving, they had been back into the cities, which became places of the political and commercial feuds. Bishops too were originating from such families
*Theodore II (897)
Son of Photius, his pontificate lasted only 20 days by December 897. He reinstated clerics who had been degraded by Stephen VI. He had the body of Formosus, cast ashore Tiber by a flood near Porto and drawn out by a monk, to be reburied with full honours in St. Peter as further trials like the Cadaver Synod were banned. Theodore II might have been assassinated
*John IX (898-900)
He became pope in early 898 A.D. A native of Tivoli, the son of Rampoald he had become a Benedictine, and ordained priest by Pope Formosus. The nominee of the Spoletans he was elected against Sergius III the one of a other faction. He hold several synods to qualm violence of factions in Rome, condemning again the Cadaver Synod. He also forbade the barbarous custom of plundering bishops or popes palaces on their death as a synod in Rome declared itself for Emperor Lambert against his rival Bérenger and even Arnulf, as it was re-asserted that the pope-elect had to be consecrated only in the presence of the imperial envoys. That move in direction of a alliance with Lambert was shattered by the death of the latter. The troubles of the time, generally, had triggered deeds of violence everywhere. John IX had the time to protect the clerical independence of the Slavs of Moravia against Germany
*Benedict IV (900-903)
A Roman, of high birth, the son of Mammalus, he had been ordained priest by Formosus. He became pope in the first halve of 900 and crowned emperor Louis the Blind. He supported bishops like Agrim in Langres, Stephen in Naples, or Malacenus in Amasia (against the Saracens) and he excommunicated Baldwin II of Flanders the assassin of Fulk, Archbishop of Reims. Fulda and other monasteries received privileges from him. Generally Benedict IV could not brake the decline of morality

flèche retour Popes of The 10th Century

*Leo V (903-904)
Dates of his pontificate are unknown. A Benedictine, when elected pope he was not one of the cardinal-priests of Rome, but attached to some church outside the City hence called a 'presbiter forensis'. His reign seems to have lasted by some 30 days only as he was seized by Christopher, cardinal-Priest of St. Damasus, and cast into prison, the intruder promptly seating himself in the chair of Peter as in turn he was deposed by Sergius III who had both of them murdered (Leo V might better have died a natural death in prison or a monastery)
*Sergius III (904-911)
A Roman of noble birth and the son of Benedict, he was a supporter of the party of the opponents to Formosus. Made bishop of Caere by the latter to hinder any move to papacy (as a bishop of a see could not be elected pope, who is bishop of Rome), he is seen back by 898 when a candidate of the commander or Rome and vestarius Theophylactus, Count of Tusculum faction of Rome. He might then have retired to Alberic, Count of Spoleto. Repelled by the violent usurpation of Christopher, the Theophylact party of Romans had him imprisoned and called to Sergius. Sergius came back to declare Formosus ordinations null. He supported John, arcbhishop in Ravenna against the count of Istria and established a number of new sees in England. He kept opposing to the Greeks and he completely restored the Lateran Basilica which had been shattered by an earthquake in 896. Sergius is the first pope depicted wearing the papal tiara. The ennemies of Sergius rumored him like a sinner and culprit of several murders, or having the corpse of Formosus exhumed once again, tried and beheaded. Under his reign in any case, the strong influence of the Counts of Tusculum upon papacy began as Sergius further might have had illicit relations with 13-year old Marozia (892-937), daughter of Teophylactus from whom he would have had a son, afterwards John XI, and, under his reign, the period of feudal violence into which papacy had fallen in central Italy kept on, with aristocratic factions often led by prominent women, heralding the 'Pornocracy' period and the 'Saeculum obscurum' lasting 904-964. The Church itself might found that the influence of some of the Theophylactus faction not have been so detrimental to papacy than usually thought
*Anastasius III (911-913)
A Roman, being the son of Lucian. He was active in determining the ecclesiastical divisions of Germany and reigned, at most, about two years and two months. Albeit elected for his morality, he endured hastening from Berenger I as he was forced to conceded numerous privileges to the bishop of Pavia. It is under his reign that Northmen of Rollo, in Normandy, France, converted to Christianity. He might have been poisoned as he still was under the control of Counts of Tusculum
*Lando (913-914)
A native of the Sabina, and the son of Taino, he reigned a little over six months. He was a worthy man as he might have due his election to a faction
*John X (914-928)
Originating from Romagna, he had become Archbishop of Ravenna about 905. Owing to the continued influence of the Theophylactus dominant party of Rome, he was made pope as the real head of the faction was the elder Theodora, wife of the Senator Theophylactus, and close to Spoletans as John was a relative of his family. John X was a active and energetic ruler as he endeavoured to put an end to the Saracen invasions. He secured a alliance between Landulph of Beneventum, Berengarius of Friuli, King of the Lombards, and other Italian rulers,he crowned Berengarius in Rome in 915 emperor. The Saracens were rooted by their army near the mouth of the Garigliano River. He also intervened in France or Germany or to develop relations with the Slavs of Dalmatia. Bulgarians kept distant from Rome at the time as John X on the other hand did not intervene into the Byzantine affairs, focusing seemingly the political life of Italy as involved when king Berengarius was murdered in 924, hindering any unity in Italy, supporting Hugh of Burgundy, which unpleased the Theophylact faction and mostly the elder Marozia, daughter of Theophylactus and Theodora, her second husband being Guido, margrave of Tuscany. She had Petrus, Prefect of Rome and brother of the pope murdered in June 928 as John himself was seized and cast into prison, where he died shortly after. John X had been particularly zealous for the restoration of the Lateran
*Leo VI (928-929)
A Roman, the son of primicerius, Christopher under John VIII, of the family of the Sanguigna, he himself became Cardinal-Priest of St. Susanna. He settled disputes between the sees in Dalmatia. His election was controlled by Marousia who had proclaimed herself 'Senatrix and Patricia.' A honest man, Leon VI also fighted the Saracens and Magyars or tried to qualm the political life in Rome
*Stephen VII (929-931)
A Roman, the son of Teudemund, maybe belonging to the Gabrielli family and sometime cardinal-priest of St. Anastasia. He issued certain privileges for monasteries in France and Italy. Maybe his reign was a stop-gap until John, son of Marozia was ready to be elected
*John XI (931-936)
The son of Marozia from her first marriage with Alberic as some assert he was the natural son of Sergius III. He was elected pope through the intrigues of his mother, who ruled at that time in Rome as he remained under the influence of the Senatrix et Patricia. Marozia meanwhile married her brother-in-law Hugh, King of Provence and Italy, to strengthen her own power. Her rule and husband's was so tyrannical that a strong opposition party sprang up among nobility under the leadership of Alberic II, younger son of Marozia and succeeded in overthrowing Marozia and Hugh. Alberic (of Spolete) thus became the ruler of Rome as John XI now fell under the power of his brother as papacy then reached its deepest decline. John XI granted many privileges to the Congregation of Cluny
*Leo VII (936-939)
A Roman, priest of St. Sixtus, and probably a Benedictine monk, he was elected pope in January 936 seemingly through the power of Alberic. As Hugo, king of Italy, who had fled Rome while Marozia had been imprisoned, came to besiege the city. Odo, abbot of Cluny had been called by Leo VII to make peace between the factions, which he managed to do and marrying Alberic with Alda, Hugo's daughter. Leo granted privileges to various monasteries, especially to Cluny and supporting monastic reforms. He also had the view to cooperate in the work of reform which was being accomplished in Germany by Henry I the Fowler and his son Otho I. The question of Jews too was evoked in Germany, as the pope did not allow to baptize them by force but their expulsion shoud they refuse to convert to Christianity. The St-Paul, Ste-Agnes and St-Andrew monasteries in Rome, and those in Subiaco and Nepi, were re-built
*Stephen VIII (939-942)
A Roman or maybe a native of Germany, cardinal-priest of SS. Silvester and Martin he was elected by July 939. He supported the declining Carolingian dynasty, forcing, by threat of excommunication, Frankish nobles to be faithful to King Louis IV d'Outre-Mer. The pontificate however remained under the influence of Alberic. Stephen VIII kept supporting Cluny in Italy and Lorraine. His reign might be considered taking place during a brief interruption of the Pornocracy period
*Marinus II (942-946)
A Roman, and a cardinal of the title of St. Ciriacus, he was elected by the power of Alberic. Reform of the Church was desserved by the legates he sent abroad or his own exertions, kept encouraging the monastic development under Cluny, especially. He repaired basilicas and cared of the poor. Northern Italy meanwhile was under the tyrannical rule of king Hugo
*Agapetus II (946-956)
A Roman. The papacy reached further its deepest decline under his reign, as he showed like papacy, as diminished to its sole true spiritual dignity and a resolute pontiff, can upheld against such surroundings, with Alberic still ruling in Rome. Agapetus II however managed to become a respected pope throughout Europe and worked to restore the decadent discipline in churches and cloisters. He supported the Emperor Otto the Great in his plans for the evangelization of the heathens of the North as he, with other Italian nobles, saw the increasing German power like the only mean to put a end to anarchy in Italy, persuading the Emperor to make his first expedition into the peninsula. During pope's lifetime Alberic dared to have his son Octavian -later John XII- promised pope by Romans as he himself died in 954. The West under his reign had come to a turning point as Agapetus II is heralding the end of the Pornocracy
*John XII (955-964)
Octavius, the natural son of late Alberic, 18 years of age, was elected, like planned in December 955, bringing to a renewed episode of unification in Rome between the temporal, and spiritual power. Through his mother, Alda of Vienne, stepsister of Alberic, he was seventh generation descendant of Charlemagne. Coarse and immoral, leaning to paganism, sacrilege or simony, to the point that the Lateran Palace was spoken of as a brothel as moral corruption in Rome reached a high. John XII himself waged war as he was defeated by Duke Pandulf of Capua, and the Papal States were occupied by Berengarius, King of Italy and his son Adalbert. John XII thus was obliged to accept that the German emperor Otto I fulfills the call made to him by Agapetus II as a powerful German army appeared in Italy. Berengarius retired in his fortified castles as Otto reached Rome on January 31st, 962 and a protocol of agreement between him and John XII concluded. On February 2nd, Otto was solemnly crowned emperor by the pope. As a synod added to the ecclesiastical structure of Germany, Otto, on Febuary 12th, 962 thus issued the famed 'Diploma Ottonianum', confirming papacy in its possessions, especially the donations by Pippin and Charlemagne. That decree however was instating the supervision of papacy by the German emperor, popes having to be elected in canonical form and their consecration to take place once the pledges given to the Emperor and ambassadors only. John XII immediately betrayed Otto, on the other hand, as soon as the latter left Rome to keep his war against Berengarius and Adalbert, and began secret negociations with Adalbert or sent envoys and letters to Hungary and Constantinople inciting to war against Otto. That treachery was discovered by Otto who refused propitiation by the pope and appeared again in Rome, by November 963, supporting a revolt of the Roman nobility against John XII and Adalbert who had come in the city. John and Adalbert flew to Tivoli. A synod composed of 50 Italian and German bishops convened in St. Peter and John was accused of sacrilege, simony, perjury, murder, adultery, and incest and eventually deposed on December 4th, 963. Protoscriniarius Leo, yet a layman was elected in his place like Leo VIII, as his election however was regarded like invalid as he had received all the orders uncanonically without the proper intervals or interstitia. As the German troops left Rome back, proponents of John rose as the riot was suppressed in January 964 as Otto marched to meet Adalbert in the field. A new insurrection broke out against the imperial party, Leo VIII fleeing and John XII re-entering, taking a bloody revange. A synod in February repealed the decrees of the previous one and Leo VIII excommunicated. Otto, having defeated Berengarius, was ready to enter Rome again as John XII suddenly died on May 14th, 964 as stricken by paralysis, according to some, during he was in the act of adultery, or beaten by jealous husband. In Otto's entourage was Liutprand, bishop of Cremona, who, like a chronicler, is the one to who most of the accusations against the time of Pornocracy are due
*Leo VIII (964-965)
A Roman and the son of one John, from a well known family in the Clivus Argentarii, a borough of Rome, he was uncanonically elected pope through the will of German emperor Otto I against the unworthy John XII in November 963. During the revolts and quarrels which ensued, and Leo having fled the return of John XII, Romans had eventually elected Cardinal-Deacon Benedict after the death of John self. Otto soon came again in Rome as Leo VIII tried Benedict, degrading him, with his will, in July 964. Thus Leo might be regarded a canonical pope July 964 to his death about March 965. Some obscure arrangements in terms of Ottonian control over papacy and Papal States are generally considered imperial forgeries from the Investiture Quarrel time. The deposed Benedict had his pastoral staff broken over him by Leo VIII, the first mention of the papal sceptre
*Benedict V (964-965)
The Cardinal-Deacon Benedict, a learned man (and called 'Benedictus Grammaticus'), he had been elected by the Romans by the death of pope John XII. He was willingly deposed by emperor Otto I nominee or Leo VIII by June 964. He was taken in Germany by Otto when the latter left Rome and placed under the care of Adaldag, Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen and even acknowledged as pope by some of the German clergy. He died there and he is said to have forecasted the destruction of Hamburg by the Slavs until his body returned to Rome. It is under the popes of that time, which came to be under the influence of German emperors that those developed the 'Reichskirche,' or 'State Church,' which is the use of the German Church like instrumental into secularly governing the country
*John XIII (965-972)
As Leo VIII died in March 965, the Romans had requested the emperor to send Benedict back to them as pope but Otto refused and, in presence of Liutprand, Bishop of Cremona and Otgar, Bishop of Speyer, the imperial envoys, John, bishop of Narni, the emperor nominee was elected as John XIII. He belonged to the family of the elder Theodora, through the younger Theodora, the second daughter of her who married Consul John and had, among other children, John. A part of the Roman nobles, led by Prefect Peter Cesi and count Rotfred of Campagna, plotted against him as the emperor's candidate and shut him up in December 965 in the Castle of Sant' Angelo, and then to a fortified place in Campagna. Having succeeded to escape, John found protection with Prince Pandulf of Capua, as a reaction towards him was setting in Rome. When Otto I, in 966, came back into Italy, the terrified Romans let John back, which not forbade Otto to dispense a harsh justice to the conspirators like Peter Cesi hanged by his hair to the statue of Marcus Aurelus or several consuls exiled in Germany. John XIII, that scion of the Theophylactus which so long a time had governed papacy allied closely with the emperor. By Christmas Day 967, Otto' son, Otto II, 13 years old came to Rome and was crowned joint emperor. John also favoured the marriage between Otto II and Byzantine princess Theophano, niepce of John I Tzimiskes, in April 972, part of the ongoing attempt to reconcile the Eastern and Western Churches. In terms of the Church, by 968, Magdeburg was set the new metropolitan see in Slavic territory with its suffragent bishops as the action of the pope also was extant through nominations, confirmation of synods held in France and England, privileges granted to churches and convents, especially to Cluny, or numerous questions of ecclesiastical law referred to him from various countries. He also countered any Byzantine influence in southern Italy through the creation of new Latin archbishoprics
*Benedict VI (973-974)
Cardinal-Deacon of St. Theodore, a Roman and the son of Hildebrand as his election was conform to the imperial wishes. He confirmed the privileges of some churches and monasteries as his pontificate came to a tragic close, as Otto Ier having died by may 974, he was seized and thrown into the Castle of Sant' Angelo by a faction of the nobility headed by Crescentius and the Deacon, antipope Boniface VII and strangled after some time to prevent any release by the imperial envoy
*Benedict VII (974-983)
Sicco, the envoy of the emperor influenced the Roman clergy and people to elect Benedict, Bishop of Sutri, a Roman and the son of David, or Deodatus, in October, 974, like the canonical successor to Benedict VI. Opposed by antipope Boniface VII, the imperial party compelled Benedict, who belonged to the family of the counts of Tusculum, nephew to Prince Alberic II of Spoleto (932-954) and a relative to the family of Crescenti, to call upon Otto II for help He checked the tide of simony rising high in the Church, which in turn favoured the marriage of priests so their benefices they had bought to pass to heirs, and advanced the cause of monasticism. He was asked for help by the people of Carthage 'to help the wretched province of Africa'
*John XIV (983-984)
Bishop Peter Campanora of Pavia, earlier imperial chancellor of Italy, was the imperial candidate and crowned in late 983. Young emperor Otto II unluckily died by December 7th of that year at Rome and buried in the vestibule of St. Peter. Antipope Boniface VII, created in 974 by the Roman adherents of Crescentius, had flewn to Constantinople and he then returned to Rome in April 984. He made John XIV prisoner into the Castle of Sant' Angelo, and usurpated the Holy See. John XIV died of starvation or murdered. He had turned his forname Peter not to allow that the one of the Apostle be used, a custom any following such pope was to respect
*John XV (985-996)
After John XIV had been removed by force, the Usurper Boniface VII reigned boodily 11 months until in July, 985 when likely violently dead, his body was exposed to the insults of the populace and flung under the statue of Marcurs Aurelius. A Roman, son of a Roman presbyter Leo, was then elected pope, like John XV as he remained under the influence of the powerful patricius John Crescentius II, son of the previous, who was exerting the entire control of the temporal power in Rome. Fleeing to Empress Theophano but returning to Rome then, John XV maintained friendly relations with both empresses—Adelaide, widow of Otto I, and Theophano, widow of Otto II, which braked Crescentius ambitions as John himself might have been venal and nepotic. Pope's mediation extinguished the quarrel between King Aethelred and Richard of Normandy in March 991 as Hugh Capet had been elected king of Francia orientalis, inaugurating the new dynasty of the Capetians in France. In the serious ensuing dispute over the archiepiscopal see of Reims, entrusted by Hugh to Arnulf, nephew of his Carolingian opponent Duke Charles of Lorraine in 988 and imprisoned by his uncle, Hugh had Arnulf deposed as he thought of treachery, replacing him with abbot Gerbert, next to be pope Sylvester II, the pope of the year 1,000 A.D. John XV was confronted to a form of revolt of the Frankish bishops siding the king and his legate eventually pronounced the deposition of Arnulf illegal and restored after Hugh Capet death by October 996 to his dignities as Gerbert became the preceptor of Otto III at the imperial court in Magdeburg. The first ever canonization by a pope occurred under John's reign as he conferred many privileges on churches and convents, and was a patron and protector of the monks of Cluny. He originated the practice of God's Truce
*Gregory V (996-999)
On the death of John XV the Romans sent a deputation to Otto III, who had undertook a journey to Italy to be crowned in Rome by late pope, and asked him to name the one he would wish them to elect and he at once mentioned his chaplain and cousin, Bruno of Carinthia, 24 of age, the son of Salian duke there, distinguished for learning, especially roman dialects which were to develop into the languages of modern Europe. He became the first pope of German origin, initiating a series resulting from the Reichskirche. He crowned Otto emperor on May 21st, 996. No sooner did Otto leave Rome than Crescentius took arms and Gregory had to fly North and a antipope proclaimed, John XVI in 997, the crafty Italo-Greek John Philagathus of Rossano who, on the other hand had made a position for himself in the Ottonian court and a envoy to Constantinople for the marriage of Otto with a Byzantine princess, eventually made archbishop of Piacenza through the influence of empress Theophano. He indulged itself into the move of Crescentius eyeing a alliance with Byzantium against Otto. In a same synod in Pavia, Gregory anathematized Crescentius with antipope and threatened Capetian King Robert the Pious with excommunication if Bertha his to close by blood wife was not repudiated, which he did, espousing Constance, or Gerbert caused to abandon the see of Reims too. Emperor Otto finally marched upon Rome by late 997 as Crescentius shut himself up in the Castle of Sant' Angelo, the antipope publicly degraded in 998 and transported in Germany. Crescentius eventually was hanged upon the walls of the castle. Gregory V allowed England to replace secular canons in Canterbury with monks. Following Otto's request, Gregory granted exceptional privileges to many German monasteries and held various synods for the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs in the country. Gregory V death might have been unnatural
*Sylvester II (999-1003)
That century ended with pope Sylvester II (999-1003), originating from the western Frankish dominions, a prolific scholar and teacher. He promoted Arabic and Jewish knowledge in Spain of arithmetic, mathematics, and astronomy into Europe, which he had become acquainted with during his stay in the bishopric of Vic, Barcelona, at a time when Arabs had succesfully pushed against Wisigothic kingdoms of the North and that their schools in Cordoba were thrieving with science and learning and were having a influence until in European Catalogna. Gerbert thus reintroduced Arabic numbers, abacus, allowing speedy calculations, or the astronomical armillary sphere advancing astronomy, in the West. Due to his connection with the science and intellectualism of the Arab world, or with Aristote, many rumors and legends spread of Sylvester II being a sorcerer in league with the devil as he participated too into the project of Otto III, his pupil, of a universal, synchretist, cesaropapist Empire between the East and the West. The ascent of Gerbert, between the Francia occidentalis and orientalis is made against the background of harsh fights by which the Ottonians are willing to maintain their influence and possessive Empire, along with the Reichskirche, in the West, likely with some interference by Constantinople or papacy. They eventually manage to have Hugh Capet like a new king in Francia occidentalis as the latter soon, via the association of his son Robert, established the third Frankish dynasty. Gerbert was elected pope to succeed to Gregory V by 999 as his choosen name alluded to pope Sylvester I, advisor to Emperor Constantine I. His pontificate was marked by that in 1001, the Roman populace revolted against Otto III and Sylvester II who flee to Ravenna as Otto died on his third expedition in 1002 to regain the city. Sylvester was too the pope of the Millenium and fearing that the world would end. Sylvester took energetic measures against simony and concubinage among the clergy
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