|Papacy began||19 January 973|
|Papacy ended||June 974|
|Born||Rome, Papal States|
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
|Previous post||Cardinal-Priest (964–974)|
|Other popes named Benedict|
Pope Benedict VI (Latin : Benedictus VI; died June 974) was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 19 January 973 to his death in 974. His brief pontificate occurred in the political context of the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire, during the transition between the reigns of Otto I and Otto II, incorporating the struggle for power of Roman aristocratic families such as the Crescentii and Tusculani.
The son of a Roman of German ancestry named Hildebrand,Benedict was born in Rome in the region called Sub Capitolio (in what was the old 8th region of Augustan Rome, the Forum Romanum). Prior to becoming pope, he was the cardinal deacon of the church of Saint Theodore.
On the death of Pope John XIII in September 972, the majority of the electors who adhered to the imperial faction chose Benedict VII to be his successor. He was not consecrated until January 973, due to the need to gain the approval of the Holy Roman emperor, Otto I.Installed as pope under the protection of Otto I, Benedict was seen as a puppet of the emperor by the local Roman aristocracy who resented the emperor's dominance in Roman civil and ecclesiastical affairs.
Record of Benedict VII's reign as pope is scant. There is a letter dated to Benedict's reign from Pilgrim of Passau, asking for Benedict to confer on him the pallium, and make him a bishop so that he could continue his mission to convert the Hungarian people to Christianity. However, the response from Benedict is considered to be a forgery.Benedict VII is also known to have confirmed privileges assumed by certain monasteries and churches. At the request of King Lothair and Queen Emma of France, Benedict placed the monastery of Blandin under papal protection. There is also a papal bull from Benedict in which Frederick, archbishop of Salzburg, and his successors are named papal vicars in the former Roman provinces of Upper and Lower Pannonia and Noricum; however, the authenticity of this bull is also disputed.
Otto I died soon after Benedict VII's election in 973, and with the accession of Otto II, troubles with the nobility emerged in Germany. With the new emperor so distracted, a faction of the Roman nobility opposed to the interference of the Ottonian emperors in Roman affairs, took advantage of the opportunity to move against Benedict VI. Led by Crescentius the Elder and Cardinal-Deacon Franco Ferrucci, who had been the preferred candidate of the anti-Ottonian faction,Benedict was taken in June 974, and imprisoned in the Castel Sant'Angelo, at that time a stronghold of the Crescentii. Ferrucci was then proclaimed as the new pope, taking the name Boniface VII.
Hearing of the overthrow of Benedict VI, Otto II sent an imperial representative, Count Sicco, to demand his release. Unwilling to step down, Boniface ordered a priest named Stephen to murder Benedict whilst he was in prison, strangling him to death.Boniface VII is today considered an antipope, with Benedict VII as the legitimate successor of Benedict VI.
Pope Benedict V was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 22 May to 23 June 964, in opposition to Leo VIII. He was overthrown by Emperor Otto I. His brief pontificate occurred at the end of a period known as the Saeculum obscurum.
Pope Benedict VII was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from October 974 to his death.
Pope Benedict VIII was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 18 May 1012 until his death. He was born Theophylactus to the noble family of the counts of Tusculum. Horace Mann considered him "...one of the few popes of the Middle Ages who was at once powerful at home and great abroad."
Antipope Boniface VII, otherwise known as Franco Ferrucci, was a Catholic prelate who claimed the Holy See in 974 and from 984 until 985. A popular tumult compelled him to flee to Constantinople in 974; he carried off a vast treasure, and returned in 984 and removed Pope John XIV (983–984) from office. He is supposed to have put Pope Benedict VI to death. After a brief second rule, he died under suspicious circumstances. He is today considered an antipope.
Pope Gregory II was Bishop of Rome from 19 May 715 to his death in 731. His defiance of the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Isaurian as a result of the iconoclastic controversy in the Eastern Empire prepared the way for a long series of revolts, schisms and civil wars that eventually led to the establishment of the temporal power of the popes.
Pope Stephen VIII was the bishop of Rome and nominal ruler of the Papal States from 14 July 939 to his death. His pontificate occurred during the Saeculum obscurum, when the power of popes was diminished by the ambitious counts of Tusculum, and was marked by the conflict between his patron, Alberic II of Spoleto, and King Hugh of Italy.
Pope Sergius III was the bishop of Rome and nominal ruler of the Papal States from 29 January 904 to his death. He was pope during a period of violence and disorder in central Italy, when warring aristocratic factions sought to use the material and military resources of the papacy. Because Sergius III had reputedly ordered the murder of his two immediate predecessors, Leo V and Christopher, and allegedly fathered an illegitimate son who later became pope, John XI, his pontificate has been variously described as "dismal and disgraceful", and "efficient and ruthless".
Pope Leo VIII was a Roman prelate who claimed the Holy See from 963 until 964 in opposition to John XII and Benedict V and again from 23 June 964 to his death. Today he is considered by the Catholic Church to have been an antipope during the first period and the legitimate pope during the second. An appointee of Holy Roman Emperor Otto I, Leo VIII's pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.
Otto II, called the Red (Rufus), was Holy Roman Emperor from 973 until his death in 983. A member of the Ottonian dynasty, Otto II was the youngest and sole surviving son of Otto the Great and Adelaide of Italy.
Pope Damasus II was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from July 17 1048 to his death on 9 August that same year. He was the second of the German pontiffs nominated by Emperor Henry III. A native of Bavaria, he was the third German to become pope and had one of the shortest papal reigns.
Pope John XIII was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 1 October 965 to his death. His pontificate was caught up in the continuing conflict between the Holy Roman emperor, Otto I, and the Roman nobility. After long and arduous negotiations, he succeeded in arranging a Byzantine marriage for Otto II, in an effort to legitimize the Ottonian claim to imperial dignity. He also established church hierarchy in Poland and Bohemia.
Pope John XII, born Octavian, was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 16 December 955 to his death in 964. He was related to the counts of Tusculum, a powerful Roman family which had dominated papal politics for over half a century. He became pope in his late teenage years or early twenties. In 960, he clashed with the Lombards to the south. Unable to control Rome easily, he sought help from King Otto I of Germany and crowned him emperor. John XII's pontificate became infamous for the alleged depravity and worldliness with which he conducted his office. He soon fell out with Otto, but died before Otto succeeded in his attempt to depose him.
Pope John X was the bishop of Rome and nominal ruler of the Papal States from March 914 to his death. A candidate of the counts of Tusculum, he attempted to unify Italy under the leadership of Berengar of Friuli, and was instrumental in the defeat of the Saracens at the Battle of Garigliano. He eventually fell out with Marozia, who had him deposed, imprisoned, and finally murdered. John’s pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.
Pope John XVIII was the bishop of Rome and nominal ruler of the Papal States from January 1004 to his abdication in July 1009. He wielded little temporal power, ruling during the struggle between John Crescentius and Emperor Henry II for the control of Rome.
Theophylact I was a medieval count of Tusculum who was the effective ruler of Rome from around 905 through to his death in 924. His descendants controlled the papacy for the next 100 years.
Crescentius the Elder was a politician and aristocrat in Rome who played a part in the papal appointment.
Papal appointment was a medieval method of selecting a pope. Popes have always been selected by a council of Church fathers, however, Papal selection before 1059 was often characterized by confirmation or "nomination" by secular European rulers or by their predecessors. The later procedures of the papal conclave are in large part designed to constrain the interference of secular rulers which characterized the first millennium of the Roman Catholic Church, and persisted in practices such as the creation of crown-cardinals and the jus exclusivae. Appointment might have taken several forms, with a variety of roles for the laity and civic leaders, Byzantine and Germanic emperors, and noble Roman families. The role of the election vis-a-vis the general population and the clergy was prone to vary considerably, with a nomination carrying weight that ranged from near total to a mere suggestion or ratification of a prior election.
There was no uniform procedure for papal selection before 1059. The bishops of Rome and supreme pontiffs (popes) of the Catholic Church were often appointed by their predecessors or by political rulers. While some kind of election often characterized the procedure, an election that included meaningful participation of the laity was rare, especially as the popes' claims to temporal power solidified into the Papal States. The practice of papal appointment during this period would later result in the jus exclusivae, i.e., a right to veto the selection that Catholic monarchs exercised into the twentieth century.
The Tusculan Papacy was a period of papal history from 1012 to 1048 where three successive Counts of Tusculum installed themselves as pope.
The Synod of Rome (964) was a synod held in St. Peter’s Basilica from 26 to 28 February 964, for the purpose of condemning the Synod of Rome (963) and to depose Pope Leo VIII.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article Pope Benedict VI .|
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