Pope Agapetus II

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Agapetus II
Pope Agapetus II.jpg
Papacy began10 May 946
Papacy ended8 November 955
Predecessor Marinus II
Successor John XII
Personal details
Birth nameAgapetus
Born Rome, Papal States
Died8 November 955
Rome, Papal States
Other popes named Agapetus

Pope Agapetus II (died 8 November 955) was Pope from 10 May 946 to his death in 955. A nominee of the Princeps of Rome, Alberic II, his pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.

Pope leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the Bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

Princeps is a Latin word meaning "first in time or order; the first, foremost, chief, the most eminent, distinguished, or noble; the first man, first person". As a title, "princeps" originated in the Roman Republic wherein the leading member of the Senate was designated princeps senatus. It is primarily associated with the Roman emperors as an unofficial title first adopted by Augustus in 23 BC. Its use in this context continued until the reign of Diocletian at the end of the third century. He preferred the title of dominus, meaning "lord" or "master". As a result, the Roman Empire from Augustus to Diocletian is termed the "principate" (principatus) and from Diocletian onwards as the "dominate" (dominatus). Other historians define the reign of Augustus to Severus Alexander as the Principate, and the period afterwards as the "Autocracy".

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.



Born into a Roman noble family, he was born with Roman father (descendant of consul Anicius Faustus Albinus Basilius) and with Greek mother. Agapetus was elected pope on 10 May 946 after the death Pope Marinus II. The existence of an independent republic of Rome, ruled by Alberic II, (932–954), son of Marozia and the self-styled "prince and senator of the Romans", meant that Agapetus was prevented from exercising any temporal or secular power in Rome and the Papal States. Tensions between the rival kings of Italy, Berengar II and Otto I allowed Alberic to exercise complete control over Rome and Agapetus, meaning the pope was largely limited to managing internal church affairs. [1] Even Agapetus’ invitation to Otto to intervene in Italian affairs in 951 was done at the instigation of Alberic, who was growing concerned at Berengar’s growing power. However, when Otto’s envoys, the bishops of Mainz and Chur, were sent to the pope to discuss Otto’s reception in Rome and other more important questions, they were turned away by Alberic. [2]

Anicius Faustus Albinus Basilius politician

Anicius Faustus Albinus Basilius was a high official of the Eastern Roman Empire and the last ordinary consul of Roman history, holding the office in 541.

Pope Marinus II pope

Pope Marinus II was Pope from 30 October 942 to his death in 946.

Alberic II (912–954) was ruler of Rome from 932 to 954, after deposing his mother Marozia and his stepfather, King Hugh of Italy.

Agapetus was forced to intervene in the dispute over the occupancy of the See of Reims. He ordered a synod to be held at Ingelheim in June 948 to resolve the rights of the rival claimants, Hugh of Vermandois and Artald of Reims. He sent his legate Marinus of Bomarzo to act on his behalf, while Agapetus wrote to a number of bishops, asking them to be present at the council. [3] Through his legate the pope indicated his support for King Louis IV of France, and gave his support for reinstalling Artald as bishop of Reims. [4] This council was followed up by another one at Trier, where Agapetus was again represented by Marinus of Bomarzo.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Reims archdiocese

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Reims is an archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. Erected as a diocese around 250 by St. Sixtus, the diocese was elevated to an archdiocese around 750. The archbishop received the title "primate of Gallia Belgica" in 1089.

Artald of Reims was twice Archbishop of Reims. He held the post first 931 to 940, when he was displaced by Hugh of Vermandois. He was restored, with the help of Louis IV of France, in 946.

Papal legate a personal representative of the pope

A papal legate or apostolic legate is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters.

Then in 949, Agapetus held a synod in Rome, which confirmed the rulings of the two councils. It condemned the former bishop Hugh and it excommunicated his father, Herbert II, Count of Vermandois for his opposition to King Louis IV. [5]

Synod council of a church

A synod is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word synod comes from the Greek σύνοδος (sýnodos) meaning "assembly" or "meeting", and it is synonymous with the Latin word concilium meaning "council". Originally, synods were meetings of bishops, and the word is still used in that sense in Catholicism, Oriental Orthodoxy and Eastern Orthodoxy. In modern usage, the word often refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not. It is also sometimes used to refer to a church that is governed by a synod.

Excommunication censure used to deprive, suspend, or limit membership in a religious community

Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure used to end or at least regulate the communion of a member of a congregation with other members of the religious institution who are in normal communion with each other. The purpose of the institutional act is to deprive, suspend, or limit membership in a religious community or to restrict certain rights within it, in particular, those of being in communion with other members of the congregation, and of receiving the sacraments.

Herbert II, Count of Vermandois, Count of Meaux, and Count of Soissons. He was the first to exercise power over the territory that became the province of Champagne.

After receiving requests from both Louis IV of Francia and Otto I of Germany, Agapetus granted privileges to monasteries and nunneries within their respective kingdoms. He also was sympathetic towards Otto’s plans to restructure the bishoprics within Germany, which were eventually aborted due to pressure exerted by William of Mainz. [6] Around 948, Agapetus, granted the Archbishop of Hamburg the right of consecrating bishops in Denmark and other northern European countries instead of the pope. [7] The pope was also apparently asked by King Frode VI of Jutland to send missionaries to his kingdom. [8]

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hamburg archdiocese

The Archdiocese of Hamburg is a diocese in the north of Germany and covers the Federal States of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein as well as the Mecklenburgian part of the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In terms of surface area it is the largest in Germany. It is characterized by its situation as a diocese in the Diaspora. Seat of the archbishop is the New St. Mary's Cathedral in Sankt Georg, Hamburg. On January 26, 2015 Stefan Heße, Generalvikar of the Archdiocese of Cologne, was appointed Archbishop of Hamburg.

Jutland mainland of Denmark, a peninsula north of Germany

Jutland, also known as the Cimbric or Cimbrian Peninsula, is a peninsula of Northern Europe that forms the continental portion of Denmark and part of northern Germany. The names are derived from the Jutes and the Cimbri, respectively.

Agapetus was also asked to intervene in a dispute between Herhold, archbishop of Salzburg and Gerard, bishop of Lauriacum who both claimed the title of metropolitan of all Pannonia. Agapetus dispatched a letter to the two claimants, in which he stated that the diocese of Lauriacum had been the metropolitan church of all Pannonia before the invasion of the Huns. However, following the ravages inflicted by them, the metropolitan had transferred his See to another city, and since that time Salzburg had been raised to an archbishopric. Consequently, both lawfully occupied their respective Sees, and both were to retain their rank and diocese. Agapetus ruled that jurisdiction over western Pannonia would rest with Herhold, while the eastern part, along with the regions occupied by the Avars and the Moravians, would fall under Gerard. [9]

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Metropolitan bishop ecclesiastical office

In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis.

Pannonia ancient province of the Roman Empire

Pannonia was a province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia. Pannonia was located over the territory of the present-day western Hungary, eastern Austria, northern Croatia, north-western Serbia, northern Slovenia, western Slovakia and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In Italy, Agapetus wrote to the dukes of Beneventum and Capua, demanding that monasteries be returned to the monks whom they had displaced. He also deposed the bishops of Termoli and Trivento who were accused of simony. Hoping to rejuvenate the religious life of the clerics in Italy, Agapetus, with the blessing of the Princeps Alberic, asked for the abbot of Gorze Abbey to send some of his monks down and join the monastic community attached to the church of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. [10]

Agapetus died on 8 November 955, and was succeeded by Alberic’s son, Octavianus, who took the papal name of John XII. He was buried in the Lateran basilica, behind the apse, and close to the tombs of Pope Leo V and Pope Paschal II. [11] Agapetus was noted for his caution and for the sanctity with which he led his life. [12]

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  1. Mann, pgs. 226-229
  2. Gregorovius, pgs 323-324
  3. Mann, pgs. 231-232
  4. Mann, pgs. 233-234
  5. Mann, pg. 234
  6. Mann, pg. 236
  7. Mann, pgs. 237-238
  8. Mann, pg. 238
  9. DeCormenin, Louis Marie; Gihon, James L., A Complete History of the Popes of Rome, from Saint Peter, the First Bishop to Pius the Ninth (1857), pg. 291
  10. Mann, pgs. 238-240
  11. Mann, pg. 240
  12. Gregorovius, pg. 321; Mann, pg. 225

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Marinus II
Succeeded by
John XII