Pope Sergius IV

Last updated

Sergius IV
Sergius IV.jpg
Papacy began31 July 1009
Papacy ended12 May 1012
Predecessor John XVIII
Successor Benedict VIII
Created cardinal1004
by John XVIII
Personal details
Birth namePietro Martino Buccaporci
Born Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Died(1012-05-12)May 12, 1012
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Previous post
Other popes named Sergius

Sergius IV (died 12 May 1012) was the Pope from 31 July 1009 to his death.


Early life

Pietro Martino Buccaporci was born in Rome in the "Pina" district, at an unknown date, the son of Peter the Shoemaker and Stephania. [1] He was called Pietro Martino Buccaporci, which was neither his birth name, nor the name of his family, but apparently a nickname given him because of his personal habits. [2]

In 1004, he became the Bishop of Albano. [3] [4] He was elected pope after the abdication of Pope John XVIII in 1009, and adopted the name Sergius IV. [5]


The power held by Sergius IV was small and often overshadowed by the Patricius, John Crescentius III, the ruler of the city of Rome at the time. He checked the power of Crescentius, who by strengthening the party in favour of the Germans. Sergius IV acted to relieve famine in the city of Rome, and he exempted several monasteries from episcopal rule. [4]

A papal bull calling for Muslims to be driven from the Holy Land after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was destroyed in 1009 by the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah has been attributed to him, although its authenticity has long been a matter of debate. [6] Carl Erdmann considered it genuine, [7] but it was rejected at length by Aleksander Gieysztor, who suggested that it was actually invented around the time of the First Crusade in order to help justify that expedition to Jerusalem. [8] Subsequently, Hans Martin Schaller has argued for the document's authenticity. [9]

Death and legacy

Sergius died on 12 May 1012 and was buried in the Basilica of St. John Lateran. [4] Although not canonized, Sergius is sometimes venerated as a saint by the Benedictines of which he was a member. [10] There was some suspicion that he was murdered, as he died within a week of Crescentius, considered by many to have been his patron. [11] Sergius was followed in the papacy by Pope Benedict VIII.

See also

Related Research Articles

Pope Benedict III pope

Pope Benedict III was pope from 29 September 855 to his death in 858.

Pope Benedict VI pope

Pope Benedict VI 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.

Pope Gregory V Pope from 996 to 999

Pope Gregory V, born Bruno of Carinthia was Pope from 3 May 996 to his death in 999.

Pope Sergius II pope

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

1012 1012

Year in topic Year 1012 (MXII) was a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar.

Pope John XI pope

Pope John XI was Pope from March 931 to his death in December 935.

Pope John XVII pope

Pope John XVII was Pope for about seven months from 16 May to 6 November 1003. He was born John Sicco, the son of another John Sicco, in the region of Rome then referred to as Biveretica. He succeeded Pope Silvester II.

Pope John XVIII pope of the Catholic Church

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.

Pope Benedict IV pope

Pope Benedict IV was Pope from 1 February 900 to his death in 903. The tenth-century historian Flodoard, who nicknamed him "the Great", commended his noble birth and public generosity. He succeeded Pope John IX (898–900) and was followed by Pope Leo V (903).

Pope Donus Pope

Pope Donus was Bishop of Rome from 2 November 676 to his death in 678. He was the son of a Roman named Mauricius. Few details survive about the person or achievements of Donus, beyond what is recorded in the Liber Pontificalis.

Antipope Christopher Antipope

Christopher held the antipapacy from October 903 to January 904. Although he was listed as a legitimate Pope in most modern lists of Popes until the first half of the 20th century, the apparently uncanonical method by which he obtained the papacy led to his being removed from the quasi-official roster of popes, the Annuario pontificio. As such, he is now considered an antipope by the Catholic Church.

Crescentii family

The Crescentii clan — if they were an extended family — essentially ruled Rome and controlled the Papacy from 965 until the nearly simultaneous deaths of their puppet pope Sergius IV and the patricius of the clan in 1012.

Willigis Archbishop of Mainz

Saint Willigis was Archbishop of Mainz from 975 until his death as well as archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire.

On the death of Pope Sergius IV in June, 1012, "a certain Gregory" opposed the party of the Theophylae, and had himself made Pope, seemingly by a small faction. Gregory VI was the first to claim to be Pope as successor to Pope Sergius, and that Benedict VIII's claim was subsequent.

John Crescentius 11th-century Italian people

John Crescentius also John II Crescentius or Crescentius III was the son of Crescentius the Younger. He succeeded to his father's title of consul and patrician of Rome in 1002 and held it to his death.

Roman Catholic Suburbicarian Diocese of Albano suburbicarian diocese

The Diocese of Albano is a suburbicarian see of the Roman Catholic Church in a diocese in Italy, comprising seven towns in the Province of Rome. Albano Laziale is situated some 15 kilometers from Rome, on the Appian Way.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Alessandria diocese of the Catholic Church

The Diocese of Alessandria is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory in Piedmont, northern Italy. It is a suffragan of the diocese of Vercelli.

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.

Frankish Papacy

From 756 to 857, the papacy shifted from the orbit of the Byzantine Empire to that of the kings of the Franks. Pepin the Short, Charlemagne, and Louis the Pious had considerable influence in the selection and administration of popes. The "Donation of Pepin" (756) ratified a new period of papal rule in central Italy, which became known as the Papal States.


  1. Duchesne, p. 267.
  2. Alphonsus Ciaconius (Alfonso Chacón) (1677). Agostinus Olduinus (ed.). Vitae et res gestae pontificum romanorum: et S.R.E. cardinalium (in Latin). Tomus primus. Roma: P. et A. De Rubeis. p. 765.
  3. His epitaph, quoted by Duchesne, p. 264, states, Albanum regimen lustro venerabilis uno rexit. A lustrum is a five-year period.
  4. 1 2 3 Mann, Horace. "Pope Sergius IV." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 8 November 2017
  5. "Sergius IV", The Holy See
  6. Jules Auguste Lair (1899). Bulle du pape Sergius IV.: Lettres de Gerbert (in French and Latin). Paris: A. Picard et fils. pp. 1–88.
  7. Carl Erdmann (1965). Die Entstehung des Kreuzzugsgedankens (in German). Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer.
  8. Aleksander Gieysztor (1950). The Genesis of the Crusades: The Encyclical of Sergius IV (1009-1012).
  9. Hans Martin Schaller (1991), 'Zur Kreuzzugensyklika Papst Sergius' IV.', in: Papsttum, Kirche und Recht im Mittelalter. Festschrift für Horst Fuhrmann zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Hubert Mordek (Tubingen 1991), 135-153 (in German).
  10. Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI, (HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), 168.
  11. Catholic Online


PD-icon.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Sergius IV". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Benedict VIII