Pope-elect Stephen

Last updated

Predecessor Zachary
Successor Stephen II
Created cardinal745
by Zachary
Personal details
Born Rome
Died(752-03-25)25 March 752
Previous post Cardinal-priest of San Crisogono (745–752)
Other popes named Stephen

Pope-elect Stephen (died 25 March 752) was a Roman priest selected in March 752 to succeed Pope Zachary. Because he died before he was consecrated, he is considered only a pope-elect rather than a legitimate pope.



In 745, Stephen was made a cardinal-priest by Pope Zachary. His titular church was San Crisogono. Zachary died in mid-March 752. On 23 March, Stephen was selected to become the new pope. He died of a stroke only days later, before being consecrated as bishop of Rome. [1] [2]

According to the canon law of the time, a pope's pontificate started upon his consecration. [3] Later canon law, in force until 1 October 1975, considered that a man became pope the moment he accepted his election, and Pope-elect Stephen was then anachronistically called Pope Stephen II. [4] His name was removed from the list of popes in the Annuario Pontificio in 1961. [5]

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  1. Horace Mann, "Pope Stephen II" in Catholic Encyclopedia (New York 2013)
  2. History's great untold stories: larger than life characters & dramatic ... By Joseph Cummins. National Geographic Books. p. 13.
  3. Annuario Pontificio 2012 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2012 ISBN   978-88-209-8722-0), p. 11*
  4. For example, see Rev. Joseph Deharbe, S.J., A Full Catechism of the Catholic Religion (translated by Rev. John Fander; 1863), p. 60-61.
  5. Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes (Harper Collins 2013 ISBN   978-0-06228834-9), p. 121