|Papacy began||6 October 891|
|Papacy ended||4 April 896|
Rome, Papal States
|Died||4 April 896|
Rome, Papal States
Pope Formosus (c. 816 –896) 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.
The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide 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.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is one of the fourteen to sixteen autocephalous churches that together compose the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, currently Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople.
In medieval historiography, West Francia or the Kingdom of the West Franks was the western part of Charlemagne's Empire, ruled by the Germanic Franks that forms the earliest stage of the Kingdom of France, lasting from about 840 until 987. West Francia was formed out of the division of the Carolingian Empire in 843 under the Treaty of Verdun after the death of Emperor Louis the Pious and the east–west division which "gradually hardened into the establishment of separate kingdoms ... of what we can begin to call Germany and France".
Probably a native of Rome, Formosus was born around 816.He became Cardinal Bishop of Porto in 864. Two years later, Pope Nicholas I appointed him a papal legate to Bulgaria (866). He also undertook diplomatic missions to France (869 and 872).
The Diocese of Porto-Santa Rufina is a suburbicarian diocese of the Diocese of Rome and a diocese of the Catholic Church in Italy. It was formed from the union of two dioceses. The diocese of Santa Rufina was also formerly known as Silva Candida.
Pope Saint Nicholas I, also denominated (Pope) Saint Nicholas the Great, was Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church from 24 April 858 to his death on 13 November 867. He is remembered as a consolidator of Papal authority, exerting decisive influence on the historical development of the Papacy and its position among the Christian nations of Western Europe. Nicholas I asserted that the Pope should have suzerain authority over all Christians, even royalty, in matters of faith and morals.
Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. The capital and largest city is Sofia; other major cities are Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres (42,855 sq mi), Bulgaria is Europe's 16th-largest country.
Upon the death of Louis II of Italy in 875, the nobles elected his uncle, Charles the Bald, King of the Franks to be the Holy Roman Emperor. Formosus conveyed Pope John VIII's invitation for King Charles to come to Rome to be crowned emperor. Charles took the crown at Pavia and received the imperial insignia in Rome on 29 December. Those who favored the widowed Empress Engelberga or her brother-in-law, Louis the German, did not support the coronation. Fearing political retribution, many of them left Rome surreptitiously. Formosus, suspiciously fled to Tours after despoiling the cloisters in Rome.On April 19, John VIII called a synod which ordered Formosus and other papal officials to return to Rome. When Formosus did not comply - he was removed from the ranks of the clergy and excommunicated on the grounds that he had deserted his diocese without papal permission, and had aspired to the position of Archbishop of Bulgaria. Additional charges included the accusations that he had opposed the emperor; "conspired with certain iniquitous men and women for the destruction of the Papal See"; and had despoiled the cloisters in Rome.
Louis II, sometimes called the Younger, was the king of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor from 844, co-ruling with his father Lothair I until 855, after which he ruled alone. Louis's usual title was imperator augustus, but he used imperator Romanorum after his conquest of Bari in 871, which led to poor relations with the Eastern Roman Empire. He was called imperator Italiae in West Francia while the Byzantines called him Basileus Phrangias. The chronicler Andreas of Bergamo, who is the main source for Louis's activities in southern Italy, notes that "after his death a great tribulation came to Italy."
Charles the Bald was the king of West Francia (843–877), king of Italy (875–877) and emperor of the Carolingian Empire (875–877). After a series of civil wars during the reign of his father, Louis the Pious, Charles succeeded, by the Treaty of Verdun (843), in acquiring the western third of the Carolingian Empire. He was a grandson of Charlemagne and the youngest son of Louis the Pious by his second wife, Judith.
The Holy Roman Emperor, officially the Emperor of the Romans, and also the German-Roman Emperor, was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was, almost without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.
The condemnation of Formosus and others was announced in July 872.In 878 the sentence of excommunication was withdrawn after he promised never to return to Rome or exercise his priestly functions.
In 867, while Formosus was serving as legate to the Bulgarian court, Prince Bogoris requested that he be named Archbishop of Bulgaria.Since the canons forbade a bishop to leave his own see to undertake the government of another, the request was denied. As early as 872 he was a candidate for the papacy; Johann Peter Kirsch suggests that the Pope may have viewed the cardinal as a potential rival.
Johann Peter Kirsch was a Luxembourgish ecclesiastical historian and biblical archaeologist.
In 883, John's successor, Pope Marinus I, restored Formosus to his suburbicarian diocese of Portus. Following the reigns of Marinus, Pope Hadrian III (884–885) and Pope Stephen V (885–891), Formosus was unanimously elected Pope on 6 October 891.
Pope Stephen V was Pope from September 885 to his death in 891. He succeeded Pope Adrian III, and was in turn succeeded by Pope Formosus. In his dealings with Constantinople in the matter of Photius, as also in his relations with the young Slavic Orthodox church, he pursued the policy of Pope Nicholas I.
Shortly after Formosus' election, he was asked to intervene in Constantinople, where Patriarch Photius I had been ejected and Stephen, the son of Emperor Basil I, had taken the office. Formosus refused to reinstate those who had been ordained by Photius, as his predecessor, Stephen V, had nullified all of Photius' ordinations. However, the eastern Bishops determined to recognize Photius' ordinations nonetheless.
Formosus also immediately immersed himself in the dispute between Odo, Count of Paris, and Charles the Simple for the French crown; the Pope sided with Charles, and zealously exhorted Odo (then holding the crown) to abdicate on Charles' behalf, to no avail.
Formosus was deeply distrustful of Guy III of Spoleto, the Holy Roman Emperor, and began looking for support against the Emperor.To bolster his position, Guy III forced Formosus to crown his son Lambert as co-Emperor in April 892. The following year, however, Formosus persuaded Arnulf of Carinthia to advance to Rome, invade the Italian peninsula, and liberate Italy from the control of Spoleto.
In 894, Arnulf's army occupied all the country north of the Po River. Guy III of Spoleto died in December, leaving his son Lambert in the care of his mother Agiltrude, an opponent of the Carolingians. In autumn 895 Arnulf undertook his second Italian campaign, progressing to Rome by February and seizing the city from Agiltrude by force on February 21. The following day, Formosus crowned Arnulf Holy Roman Emperor in St. Peter's Basilica. The new emperor moved against Spoleto but was struck with paralysis on the way and was unable to continue the campaign.
During his papacy he also had to contend with the Saracens, who were attacking Lazio.
On 4 April 896, Formosus died.He was succeeded by Pope Boniface VI.
Pope Stephen VI, the successor of Boniface, influenced by Lambert and Agiltrude, sat in judgment of Formosus in 897, in what was called the Cadaver Synod. The corpse was disinterred, clad in papal vestments, and seated on a throne to face all the charges from John VIII. The verdict was that the deceased had been unworthy of the pontificate. The damnatio memoriae , an old judicial practice from Ancient Rome, was applied to Formosus, all his measures and acts were annulled and the orders conferred by him were declared invalid. The papal vestments were torn from his body, the three fingers from his right hand he had used in blessings were cut off and the corpse was thrown into the Tiber (later to be retrieved by a monk).
Following the death of Stephen VI, Formosus' body was reinterred in St Peter's Basilica. Further trials of this nature against deceased persons were banned, but Pope Sergius III (904–911) reapproved the decisions against Formosus. Sergius demanded the re-ordination of the bishops consecrated by Formosus, who in turn had conferred orders on many other clerics, causing great confusion. Later the validity of Formosus' work was re-reinstated. The decision of Sergius with respect to Formosus has subsequently been universally disregarded by the Church, since Formosus' condemnation had little to do with piety and more to do with politics.
Bartolomeo Platina writes that Sergius had the much-abused corpse of Formosus exhumed once more, tried, found guilty again, and beheaded, thus in effect conducting a second Cadaver Synod,while Joseph Brusher says that "Sergius [III] indulged in no resurrection-man tactics himself" and Schaff, Milman, Gregorovius, von Mosheim, Miley, Mann, Darras, John the Deacon of Naples, Flodoard, and others make no mention of this story.
Arnulf of Carinthia was the duke of Carinthia who overthrew his uncle, Emperor Charles the Fat, became the Carolingian king of East Francia from 887, the disputed King of Italy from 894 and the disputed Holy Roman Emperor from February 22, 896 until his death at Regensburg, Bavaria.
Pope Gregory III was Bishop of Rome from 11 February 731 to his death in 741. His pontificate, like that of his predecessor, was disturbed by Byzantine iconoclasm and the advance of the Lombards, in which he invoked the intervention of Charles Martel, although ultimately in vain. He was the fifth Syrian pope and the last pope born outside of Europe for 1,272 years, until the election of Pope Francis in 2013.
Pope Stephen VI was Pope from 22 May 896 to his death in 897.
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 Theodore II was Pope for twenty days in December 897. His short reign occurred during a period of partisan strife in the Catholic Church, which was entangled with a period of feudal violence and disorder in central Italy. His main act as pope was to annul the "Cadaver Synod" of the previous January, therefore reinstating the acts and ordinations of Pope Formosus, which had themselves been annulled by Pope Stephen VI. He also had the body of Formosus recovered from the river Tiber and reburied with honour. He died in office in late December 897.
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 XV (Latin: Ioannes XV; was Pope from August 985 to his death in 996. He succeeded Pope John XIV. He was said to have been Pope after another Pope John who reigned four months after John XIV and was named "Papa Ioannes XIV Bis" or "Pope John XIVb". This supposed second John XIV never existed, rather he was confused with a certain cardinal deacon John, son of Robert, who was opposed to antipope Boniface VII and is now excluded from the papal lists.
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.
Pope John XVIII was Pope and ruler of the Papal states from January 1004 to his abdication in June 1009. He was born Giovanni Fassano at Rome, the son of a Roman priest, either named Leo according to Johann Peter Kirsch, or named Ursus according to Horace K Mann.
The Cadaver Synod is the name commonly given to the posthumous ecclesiastical trial of Pope Formosus, held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome during January 897. The trial was conducted by Pope Stephen VI, the successor to Formosus' successor, Pope Boniface VI. Stephen had Formosus' corpse exhumed and brought to the papal court for judgment. He accused Formosus of perjury and of having acceded to the papacy illegally. At the end of the trial, Formosus was pronounced guilty and his papacy retroactively declared null.
Lambert was the King of Italy from 891, Holy Roman Emperor, co-ruling with his father from 892, and Duke of Spoleto and Camerino from his father's death in 894. He was the son of Guy III of Spoleto and Ageltrude, born in San Rufino. He was the last ruler to issue a capitulary in the Carolingian tradition.
Guy of Spoleto, sometimes known by the Italian version of his name, Guido, or by the German version, Wido, was the Margrave of Camerino from 880 and then Duke of Spoleto and Camerino from 883. He was crowned King of Italy in 889 and Holy Roman Emperor in 891. He died in 894 while fighting for control of the Italian Peninsula.
Alberic I was the Lombard Duke of Spoleto from between 896 and 900 until 920, 922, or thereabouts. He was also Margrave of Camerino, and the son-in-law of Theophylact I, Count of Tusculum, the most powerful man in Rome.
The Photian Schism was a four-year (863–867) schism between the episcopal sees of Rome and Constantinople. The issue centered around the right of the Byzantine Emperor to depose and appoint a patriarch without approval from the papacy.
Ageltrude was the Empress and Queen of Italy as wife and mother respectively of Guy and Lambert. She was the regent for her son and actively encouraged him in opposing her archenemies, the Carolingians, and in influencing papal elections in their favour.
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 (963) was a possibly uncanonical synod held in St. Peter’s Basilica from 6 November until 4 December 963, under the authority of the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I to depose Pope John XII. The events of the synod were recorded by Liutprand of Cremona.
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