Pope Leo IV

Last updated
Pope Saint

Leo IV
103-St.Leo IV.jpg
Papacy began10 April 847
Papacy ended17 July 855
Predecessor Sergius II
Successor Benedict III
Personal details
Born790
Rome, Papal States
Died(855-07-17)17 July 855
Rome, Papal States
Sainthood
Venerated in Catholic Church
Attributes
  • Papal vestments
  • Rooster
Other popes named Leo
Papal styles of
Pope Leo IV
Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous style Saint

Pope Leo IV (790 – 17 July 855) was pope from 10 April 847 to his death in 855. He is remembered for repairing Roman churches that had been damaged during Arab raids on Rome, and for building the Leonine Wall around Vatican Hill. Pope Leo organized a league of Italian cities who fought the sea Battle of Ostia against the Saracens.

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 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.

Vatican Hill hill in Rome that is the location of St. Peters Basilica

Vatican Hill is a hill located across the Tiber river from the traditional seven hills of Rome, that also gave the name of Vatican City. It is the location of St. Peter's Basilica.

Battle of Ostia battle

The naval Battle of Ostia took place in 849 in the Tyrrhenian Sea between Muslim pirates and an Italian league of Papal, Neapolitan, Amalfitan and Gaetan ships. The battle ended in favor of the Italian league, as they defeated the pirates. It is one of the few events to occur in southern Italy during the ninth century that is still commemorated today, largely through the walls named after Leo and for the Renaissance painting Battaglia di Ostia by Raphael.

Contents

Life

A Roman by birth, Leo received his early education at Rome in the monastery of St. Martin, near St. Peter's. He attracted the notice of Pope Gregory IV, who made him a subdeacon; and was created Cardinal-Priest of Santi Quattro Coronati ("Four Crowned Martyrs") by Pope Sergius II. [1]

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.

Pope Gregory IV Pope from 827 until 844

Pope Gregory IV was Bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from October 827 to his death in 844. His pontificate was notable for the papacy’s attempts to intervene in the quarrels between the emperor Louis the Pious and his sons. It also saw the breakup of the Carolingian Empire in 843.

Santi Quattro Coronati church

Santi Quattro Coronati is an ancient basilica in Rome, Italy. The church dates back to the 4th century, and is devoted to four anonymous saints and martyrs. The complex of the basilica with its two courtyards, the fortified Cardinal Palace with the Saint Silvester Chapel, and the monastery with its cosmatesque cloister is built in a silent and green part of Rome, between the Colosseum and San Giovanni in Laterano, in an out-of-time setting.

In April 847, Leo was unanimously chosen to succeed Sergius II. As the attack of the Saracens on Rome in 846 caused the people to fear for the safety of the city, he was consecrated on 10 April, 847 without waiting for the consent of the emperor. [1]

Pope Sergius II pope

Pope Sergius II was Pope from January 844 to his death in 847.

Saracen defenses

He immediately began to repair the damage done to various churches of the city by the Saracens during the reign of his predecessor. He restored and embellished the damaged Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura and St. Peter's. The latter's altar again received its gold covering (after being stolen), which weighed 206 lb. and was studded with precious gems. Following the restoration of St. Peter's, Leo appealed to the Christian kingdoms to confront the Arab raiders. [2]

The Arab raid against Rome took place in 846. Muslim raiders plundered the outskirts of the city of Rome, sacking the basilicas of Old St Peter's and St Paul's-Outside-the-Walls, but were prevented from entering the city itself by the Aurelian Wall.

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls Church in Rome, Italy

The Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, commonly known as Saint Paul's Outside the Walls, is one of Rome's four ancient, papal, major basilicas, along with the basilicas of Saint John in the Lateran, Saint Peter's, and Saint Mary Major.

St. Peters Basilica Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City

The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or simply St. Peter's Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome.

Leo also took precautions against further raids. He put the walls of the city into a thorough state of repair, entirely rebuilding fifteen of the great towers. He was the first to enclose the Vatican hill by a wall. Leo ordered a new line of walls encompassing the suburb on the right bank of the Tiber to be built, including St. Peter's Basilica, which had been undefended until this time. The district enclosed by the walls is still known as the Leonine City, and corresponds to the later rione of Borgo. To do this, he received money from the emperor, and help from all the cities and agricultural colonies (domus cultae) of the Duchy of Rome. The work took him four years to accomplish, and the newly fortified portion was called the Leonine City, after him. [3]

Tiber river in Italy

The Tiber is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing 406 kilometres (252 mi) through Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio, where it is joined by the river Aniene, to the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Ostia and Fiumicino. It drains a basin estimated at 17,375 square kilometres (6,709 sq mi). The river has achieved lasting fame as the main watercourse of the city of Rome, founded on its eastern banks.

Leonine City

Leonine City is the part of the city of Rome around which the ninth-century Pope Leo IV commissioned the construction of the Leonine Wall. It is located on the opposite side of the Tiber from the seven hills of Rome and was not enclosed within the ancient city's Aurelian Walls, built between 271 and 275. Vatican City is within the enclosed area, but the Leonine City, containing also the Roman rione of Borgo, is much more extensive than the Vatican.

Rioni of Rome traditional administrative division of the city of Rome

A rione of Rome is a traditional administrative division of the city of Rome. "Rione" is an Italian term used since the 14th century to name a district of a town. The term was born in Rome, originating from the administrative divisions of the city. The word comes from the Latin word regio ; during the Middle Ages the Latin word became rejones, from which rione comes. Currently, all the rioni are located in Municipio I of Rome.

Battle of Ostia

The Battle of Ostia, 1829 engraving. Battle of Ostia (1829 engraving).jpg
The Battle of Ostia, 1829 engraving.

In 849, when a Saracen fleet from Sardinia approached Portus, the Pope summoned the Repubbliche Marinare (or mariner cities of Italy) – Naples, Gaeta and Amalfi – to form a league. The command of the unified fleet was given to Cesarius, son of Duke Sergius I of Naples. Aided by a fierce storm, the Saracen fleet was destroyed off Ostia. [1] The Battle of Ostia was one of the most famous in history of the Papacy of the Middle Ages and is celebrated in a famous fresco by Raphael and his pupils in his rooms of the Vatican Palace in the Vatican City.

Portus a large artificial harbour of Ancient Rome

Portus was a large artificial harbour of Ancient Rome. Sited on the north bank of the north mouth of the Tiber, on the Tyrrhenian coast, it was established by Claudius and enlarged by Trajan to supplement the nearby port of Ostia.

Naples Comune in Campania, Italy

Naples is the regional capital of Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan. In 2017, around 967,069 people lived within the city's administrative limits while its province-level municipality has a population of 3,115,320 residents. Its continuously built-up metropolitan area is the second or third largest metropolitan area in Italy and one of the most densely populated cities in Europe.

Amalfi Comune in Campania, Italy

Amalfi is a town and comune in the province of Salerno, in the region of Campania, Italy, on the Gulf of Salerno. It lies at the mouth of a deep ravine, at the foot of Monte Cerreto, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery. The town of Amalfi was the capital of the maritime republic known as the Duchy of Amalfi, an important trading power in the Mediterranean between 839 and around 1200.

A separate incident in Leo's life celebrated by Raphael's Incendio di Borgo, the fire in the pilgrims' district of Rome (the "Borgo"), which, according to legend, was stopped by Leo making the sign of the cross.

Leo IV held three synods, the one in 850 distinguished by the presence of Holy Roman Emperor Louis II, but the other two of little importance. In 863, he travelled to Ravenna to settle a dispute with the archbishop. As the archbishop was a good terms with Emperor Lothair I, the pope had little success. [4] The history of the papal struggle with Hincmar of Reims, which began during Leo's pontificate, belongs properly to that of Nicholas I.

Death and burial

Leo IV died on 17 July 855 and was succeeded by Benedict III.

Leo IV was originally buried in his own monument in St. Peter's Basilica, however some years after his death, his remains were put into a tomb that contained the first four Pope Leos. In the 18th century, the relics of Leo the Great were separated from the other Leos and given their own chapel. [5]

Iconography

Leo IV had the figure of a rooster placed on the Old St. Peter's Basilica or old Constantinian basilica [6] which has served as a religious icon and reminder of Peter's denial of Christ since that time, with some churches still having the cockerel on the steeple today. It is reputed that Pope Gregory I had previously said that the cock (rooster) "was the most suitable emblem of Christianity", being "the emblem of St Peter". [7] [8] After Leo IV, Pope Nicholas I, who had been made a deacon by Leo IV, decreed that the figure of the cock (rooster) should be placed on every church. [9]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Mann, Horace. "Pope St. Leo IV." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 23 September 2017
  2. Pierre Riche, The Carolingians:A Family who forged Europe, transl. Michael Idomir Allen, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), 175.
  3. Gregorovius, Ferdinand. History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages, vol. 3, (Annie Hamilton, tr.), 1903 ch. III "The Leonine City" pp 95ff.
  4. Partner, Peter. The Lands of St. Peter: The Papal State in the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance, University of California Press, 1972, p. 62, ISBN   9780520021815
  5. Reardon, Wendy. The deaths of the Popes.
  6. ST PETER'S BASILICA.ORG - Providing information on St. Peter's Basilica and Square in the Vatican City - The Treasury Museum
  7. John G. R. Forlong, Encyclopedia of Religions: A-d - Page 471
  8. The Antiquary: a magazine devoted to the study of the past, Volume 17 edited by Edward Walford, John Charles Cox, George Latimer Apperson - page 202
  9. How the Chicken Conquered the World - By Jerry Adler and Andrew Lawler - Smithsonian magazine, June 2012

PD-icon.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope St. Leo IV". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton.

Sources

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Sergius II
Pope
847–855
Succeeded by
Benedict III