|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 Pope 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 German emperors 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 VI 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 his election as 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 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's reign as pope is scant. There is a letter dated to Benedict's reign from Piligrim, Bishop 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.
He is also known to have confirmed privileges assumed by certain monasteries and churches. At the request of King Lothair of France and his wife, 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 disputed.
Otto I died soon after Benedict'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 German emperors in Roman affairs, took advantage of the opportunity to move against Benedict VI. Led by Crescentius the Elder and the Cardinal-Deacon Franco Ferrucci (who had been the preferred candidate of the anti-German 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.
Benedict was succeeded, after the overthrow of the Antipope Boniface VII, by Pope Benedict VII.
Pope Agapetus II 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 Benedict V was Pope from 22 May to 23 June 964, in opposition to Pope Leo VIII. He was overthrown by emperor Otto I. His pontificate occurred at the end of a period known as the Saeculum obscurum.
Pope Benedict VII was Pope from October 974 to his death in 983.
Pope Benedict VIII reigned from 18 May 1012 to his death in 1024. He was born Theophylactus to the noble family of the counts of Tusculum, descended from Theophylact, Count of Tusculum, like his predecessor Pope Benedict VII (973–974). 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, was an antipope. He is supposed to have put Pope Benedict VI to death. 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. After a brief rule from 984 to 985, he died under suspicious circumstances.
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 III was Bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 7 August 768 to his death in 772.
Pope Stephen VIII was Pope from 14 July 939 to his death in 942.
Pope Sergius III was Pope from 29 January 904 to his death in 911. He was pope during a period of feudal 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, his pontificate has been variously described as "dismal and disgraceful", and "efficient and ruthless".
Pope Formosus was Cardinal-bishop and Pope, his papacy lasting from 6 October 891 to his death in 896. His brief reign as Pope was troubled, marked by interventions in power struggles over the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the kingdom of West Francia, and the Holy Roman Empire. Formosus's remains were exhumed and put on trial in the Cadaver Synod.
Pope Leo VIII was the head of the Catholic Church from 23 June 964 to his death in 965; before that, he was an antipope from 963 to 964, in opposition to Pope John XII and Pope Benedict V. An appointee of the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I, his pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.
Year 974 (CMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar.
Pope Damasus II was Pope 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 Pope from 1 October 965 to his death in 972. His pontificate was caught up in the continuing conflict between the Emperor, Otto I, and the Roman nobility.
Pope John XII was head of the Catholic Church from 16 December 955 to his death in 964. He was related to the Counts of Tusculum and a member of the powerful Roman family of Theophylact which had dominated papal politics for over half a century. His pontificate became infamous for the alleged depravity and worldliness with which he conducted his office.
Pope John X was Pope from March 914 to his death in 928. 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.
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 would control 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.
The Tusculan Papacy was a period of papal history from 1012 to 1048 where three successive Counts of Tusculum installed themselves as pope.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article Pope Benedict VI .|
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