Pope Stephen VI

Last updated
Pope

Stephen VI
Papacy began22 May 896
Papacy endedAugust 897
Predecessor Boniface VI
Successor Romanus
Personal details
Born Rome
DiedAugust 897
Rome
Other popes named Stephen

Pope Stephen VI (Latin : Stephanus VI; died August 897) was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 22 May 896 to his death. He is best known for instigating the Cadaver Synod, which ultimately led to his downfall and death.

Contents

Family and career

Stephen was born in Rome. [1] His father was a priest named John. Stephen was made bishop of Anagni by Pope Formosus, [2] possibly against his will. [3]

Pontificate

The circumstances of his election as pope are unclear, but he was sponsored by one of the powerful Roman families, the dukes of Spoleto, that contested the papacy at the time.

Stephen is chiefly remembered in connection with his conduct towards the remains of Pope Formosus. The rotting corpse of Formosus was exhumed and put on trial, before an unwilling synod of the Roman clergy, in the so-called Cadaver Synod in January 897. Pressure from the Spoleto contingent and Stephen's fury with Formosus probably precipitated this extraordinary event. [4] With the corpse propped up on a throne, a deacon was appointed to answer for the deceased pontiff. During the trial, Formosus's corpse was condemned for performing the functions of a bishop when he had been deposed and for receiving the pontificate while he was the bishop of Porto, among other revived charges that had been levelled against him in the strife during the pontificate of John VIII. The corpse was found guilty, stripped of its sacred vestments, deprived of three fingers of its right hand (the blessing fingers), clad in the garb of a layman, and quickly buried; it was then re-exhumed and thrown in the Tiber. All ordinations performed by Formosus were annulled.

The trial excited a tumult. Though the instigators of the deed may actually have been Formosus' Spoletan enemies, notably Guy IV of Spoleto, who had recovered their authority in Rome at the beginning of 897 by renouncing their broader claims in central Italy, the scandal ended in Stephen's imprisonment and his death by strangling that summer. [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

Arnulf of Carinthia 9th century disputed Holy Roman Emperor

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 Benedict VII was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from October 974 to his death.

Pope Boniface VI was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States in April 896. He was a native of Rome. His election came about as a result of riots soon after the death of Pope Formosus. Prior to his reign, he had twice incurred a sentence of deprivation of orders as a subdeacon and as a priest. After a pontificate of fifteen days, he is said by some to have died of the gout, by others to have been forcibly ejected to make way for Stephen VI, the candidate of the Spoletan party.

Pope Stephen VII was the bishop of Rome and nominal ruler of the Papal States from February 929 to his death in 931. A candidate of the infamous Marozia, his pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.

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 Theodore II was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States 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 violence and disorder in central Italy. His main act as pope was to annul the recent Cadaver Synod, 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 Formosus was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States whose pontificate lasted from 6 October 891 to his death. His 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. Because he sided with Arnulf of Carinthia against Lambert of Spoleto, Formosus's remains were exhumed and put on trial in the Cadaver Synod. Several of his immediate successors were primarily preoccupied by the controversial legacy of his pontificate.

897 Calendar year

Year 897 (DCCCXCVII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar.

Pope Leo VI was the bishop of Rome and nominal ruler of the Papal States for just over seven months, from June 928 to his death. His pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.

Pope Romanus was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from August to November 897. His short reign occurred during a period of partisan strife in the Catholic Church, amid the violence and disorder in central Italy. His pontificate ended when he was deposed and confined to a monastery.

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 IX was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from January 898 to his death.

Pope John VI was the bishop of Rome from 30 October 701 to his death. John VI was a Greek from Ephesus who reigned during the Byzantine Papacy. His papacy was noted for military and political breakthroughs on the Italian peninsula. He was succeeded by Pope John VII after a vacancy of less than two months. The body of the pope was buried in Old St. Peter's Basilica.

Cadaver Synod posthumous ecclesiastical trial of Pope Formosus

The Cadaver Synod is the name commonly given to the posthumous ecclesiastical trial of Pope Formosus, who himself had been deceased for about 7 months, 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 of Italy Emperor of the Romans

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 III of Spoleto Emperor of the Romans

Guy III of Spoleto 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 emperor in 891. He died in 894 while fighting for control of the Italian Peninsula.

The Bad Popes is a 1969 book by E. R. Chamberlin documenting the lives of eight of the most controversial popes :

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.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Anagni-Alatri diocese of the Catholic Church

The Italian Catholic Diocese of Anagni-Alatri, in Lazio, has existed since 1986. In that year the Diocese of Alatri was united to the historical Diocese of Anagni. The diocese is a suffragan of the Diocese of Rome.

References

  1. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Stephen VI (or VII)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  2. Platina, Bartolomeo (1479), The Lives of the Popes From The Time Of Our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII, I, London: Griffith Farran & Co., pp. 237–238, retrieved 25 April 2013
  3. Mann, Horace. "Pope Stephen (VI) VII." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. Retrieved: 21 September 2017.
  4. Cummings, Joseph: "History's Great Untold Stories", page 14. National Geographic, 2006.
  5. O'Malley, John W., A History of the Popes, New York, Sheed & Ward, 2010. [ page needed ]

Sources


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Boniface VI
Pope
896–897
Succeeded by
Romanus