Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX (Latin: Benedictus IX; c. 1012 – c. 1056), born Theophylactus of Tusculum in Rome, was Pope on three occasions between October 1032 and July 1048.[1] Aged approximately 20 at his first election, he is one of the youngest popes in history. He is the only man to have been Pope on more than one occasion and the only man ever to have sold the papacy.

Benedict was the nephew of his immediate predecessor, Pope John XIX. In October 1032, his father obtained his election through bribery. However, his reputed dissolute activities provoked a revolt on the part of the Romans. Benedict was driven out of Rome and Pope Sylvester III elected to succeed him. Some months later, Benedict and his supporters managed to expel Sylvester. Benedict then decided to abdicate in favor of his godfather, the Archpriest of St. John by the Latin Gate, provided he was reimbursed for his expenses. Gratian then became Pope Gregory VI. Benedict subsequently had second thoughts and returned, and attempted to depose Gregory. A number of prominent clergy appealed to Henry, King of the Germans to restore order. Henry and his forces crossed the Brenner Pass into Italy, where he summoned the Council of Sutri to decide the matter. Benedict, Sylvester, and Gregory were all deposed. Henry then nominated the bishop of Bamberg, Suidger von Morsleben, who was consecrated and became Pope Clement II in December 1046, thus clearing the way for Henry to be immediately crowned Holy Roman Emperor by a Pope recognized as legitimate.

While Benedict IX has an execrable reputation as pope, R.L. Poole suggests that some of the calumnies directed against him be understood in the context that they were perpetrated by virulent political enemies.


Benedict IX
Pope Benedict IX Illustration
Papacy began
  • October 1032 (first term)
  • April 1045 (second term)
  • November 1047 (third term)
Papacy ended
  • September 1044 (first term)
  • May 1045 (second term)
  • July 1048 (third term)
Personal details
Birth nameTheophylactus of Tusculum
BornRome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Diedc. December 1055/January 1056 (age 43)
Grottaferrata, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Other popes named Benedict
Papal styles of
Pope Benedict IX
C o a Innocenzo III
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous stylenone


Benedict was the son of Alberic III, Count of Tusculum, and was a nephew of Pope Benedict VIII and Pope John XIX. He was also a grandnephew of Pope John XII. His father obtained the Papal chair for him by bribing the Romans.[2]

Horace K. Mann, writing in the Catholic Encyclopedia says Benedict IX was about 20 when made pontiff in October 1032.[3] Other sources state 11 or 12,[4] based upon the unsubstantiated testimony of Rupert Glaber, a monk of St. Germanus at Auxerre.[5] Benedict IX reportedly led an extremely dissolute life and allegedly had few qualifications for the papacy other than connections with a socially powerful family. In terms of theology and the ordinary activities of the Church he was entirely orthodox.

His life was incredibly scandalous, and factional strife continued.[6] The anti-papal[7] historian Ferdinand Gregorovius wrote that in Benedict, "It seemed as if a demon from hell, in the disguise of a priest, occupied the chair of Peter and profaned the sacred mysteries of religion by his insolent courses."[8] Horace K. Mann calls him "a disgrace to the Chair of Peter".[3] He was the first pope rumoured to have been primarily homosexual.[9] Pope Victor III, in his third book of Dialogues, referred to "his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts of violence and sodomy. His life as a pope was so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it."[10]

According to Reginald Lane Poole, "In a time of acute political hostility accusations, as we know too well, are made and are believed, which in a calmer time would never have been suggested."[5] He further suggests the credibility of such accusations was determined by probability rather than proof, and a reaction to the Tusculum hegemony.

Poole observes that "we have to wait until he had discredited himself by his sale of the Papacy before we hear anything definite about his misdeeds; and the further we go in time and place, the worse his character becomes". Poole considers Benedict "a negligent Pope, very likely a profligate man",[11] but notes that the picture presented of Benedict is drawn at a time when the party opposed to him was in the ascendant, and he had neither friends nor supporters.[12]

First expulsion

He was briefly forced out of Rome in 1036, but returned with the help of Emperor Conrad II, who had expelled the bishops of Piacenza and Cremona from their sees.[6] Bishop Benno of Piacenza accused Benedict of "many vile adulteries and murders".[13]

Second expulsion

In September 1044, opposition to Benedict IX's dissolute lifestyle forced him out of the city again and elected John, Bishop of Sabina, as Pope Sylvester III. Benedict IX's forces returned in April 1045 and expelled his rival,[6] who returned to his previous bishopric.


Doubting his own ability to maintain his position, and wishing to marry his cousin, Benedict decided to abdicate,[6] and consulted his godfather, the pious priest John Gratian, about the possibility of resigning. He offered to give up the papacy into the hands of his godfather if he would reimburse him for his election expenses.[14] Desirous of expurgating the See of Rome of such an unworthy pontiff, John Gratian paid him the money and was recognized as pope in his stead, as Gregory VI.[3] Peter Damian hailed the change with joy and wrote to the new pope, urging him to deal with the scandals of the church in Italy, singling out the wicked bishops of Pesaro, of Città di Castello and of Fano.[15]

Benedict IX soon regretted his resignation and returned to Rome, taking the city and remaining on the throne until July 1046, although Gregory VI continued to be recognized as the true pope. At the time, Sylvester III also reasserted his claim. A number of influential clergy and laity implored Emperor Henry III to cross the Alps and restore order.[3]

Henry intervened, and at the Council of Sutri in December 1046, Benedict IX and Sylvester III were declared deposed while Gregory VI was encouraged to resign because the arrangement he had entered into with Benedict was considered simoniacal; that is, to have been paid for. The German Bishop Suidger was crowned as Gregory's successor, Pope Clement II.

Benedict IX had not attended the council and did not accept his deposition. When Clement II died in October 1047, Benedict seized the Lateran Palace in November, but was driven away by German troops in July 1048. To fill the power vacuum, Bishop Poppo of Brixen was elected as Pope Damasus II and universally recognized as such. Benedict IX refused to appear on charges of simony in 1049 and was excommunicated.

Benedict IX's eventual fate is obscure, but he seems to have given up his claims to the papal throne. Pope Leo IX may have lifted the ban on him. Benedict IX was buried in the Abbey of Grottaferrata c. 1056. According to the abbot, he was penitent and turned away from his sins as pontiff.

Benedict is usually recognized as having had three terms as pope:

  • the first lasting from his election to his expulsion in favour of Sylvester III (October 1032 – September 1044)
  • the second from his return to his selling the papacy to Gregory VI (April – May 1045)
  • the third from his return after the death of Clement II to the advent of Damasus II (November 1047 – July 1048)

Family tree

Theophylact I, Count of Tusculum
Hugh of Italy
(also married Marozia)
Alberic I of Spoleto
d. 925
Pope Sergius III
Alda of Vienne
Alberic II of Spoleto
David or Deodatus
Pope John XI
Gregory I, Count of Tusculum
Pope John XII
Pope Benedict VII
Pope Benedict VIII
Pope 1012–1024
Alberic III, Count of Tusculum
d. 1044
Pope John XIX
Pope 1024–1032
Peter, Duke of the Romans
Pope Benedict IX
Pope 1032–1048

See also


  1. ^ Coulombe, Charles A. (2003). Vicars of Christ: A History of the Popes. Citadel Press. p. 198. ISBN 978-0806523705.
  2. ^ Miranda, Salvador. "Teofilatto", Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
  3. ^ a b c d Mann, Horace. "Pope Gregory VI." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 4 January 2016
  4. ^ Russel, Bertrand (1945). History of Western Philosophy. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 412.
  5. ^ a b Poole, Reginald L. (1917). "Benedict IX and Gregory VI". Proceedings of the British Academy. VIII.
  6. ^ a b c d Hauck, A., "Benedict IX", The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. II
  7. ^ Chambers, David (September 29, 2006), Popes, Cardinals and War: The Military Church in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe, I.B. Tauris, p. 22, ISBN 9780857715814, retrieved August 14, 2016
  8. ^ Ferdinand Gregorovius (2010-06-10). History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages. ISBN 9781108015035. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  9. ^ Fletcher, Lynne Yamaguchi (1992). First Gay Pope and Other Records. Boston: Alyson. ISBN 978-1555832063.
  10. ^ Victor III, Pope (1934), Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite (in Latin) (Dialogi de miraculis Sancti Benedicti Liber Tertius auctore Desiderio abbate Casinensis ed.), Hannover: Deutsches Institut für Erforschung des Mittelalters, p. 141, archived from the original on July 15, 2007, retrieved 2008-01-03, Cuius vita quam turpis, quam freda, quamque execranda extiterit, horresco referre
  11. ^ Poole 1917, p. 20.
  12. ^ Poole 1917, pp. 20–21.
  13. ^ “Post multa turpia adulteria et homicidia manibus suis perpetrata, postremo, etc.”Dümmler, Ernst Ludwig (1891), Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite (in Latin), I (Bonizonis episcopi Sutriensis: Liber ad amicum ed.), Hannover: Deutsches Institut für Erforschung des Mittelalters, p. 584, archived from the original on 2007-07-13, retrieved 2008-01-03
  14. ^ Blumenthal, Uta-Renate. "Gregory VI", Medieval Italy, (Christopher Kleinhenz, ed.), Routledge, 2004 ISBN 9781135948801
  15. ^ Toke, Leslie. "St. Peter Damian." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 31 Jan. 2015

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John XIX
Succeeded by
Sylvester III
Preceded by
Sylvester III
Succeeded by
Gregory VI
Preceded by
Clement II
Succeeded by
Damasus II

The 1040s was a decade of the Julian Calendar which began on January 1, 1040, and ended on December 31, 1049.


Year 1045 (MXLV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Alberic III, Count of Tusculum

Alberic III (died 1044) was the Count of Tusculum, along with Galeria, Preneste, and Arce, from 1024, when his brother the count Roman was elected Pope John XIX, until his own death. He was a son of Gregory I and Maria, brother of Popes Benedict VIII and John XIX, and brother-in-law of Thrasimund III of Spoleto.

Alberic used the title of consul, dux et patricius Romanorum: "consul, duke, and patrician of the Romans." This signified his secular authority in Rome. He also bore the titular comes sacri palatii Lateranensis ("Count of the Sacred Lateran Palace"), which signified his ecclesiastical function in the papal curia. During the pontificate of his brother John XIX, he was made a senator, but he had to abandon this title for the aforemention consular dignity in order to avoid tensions with the Emperor Henry II. Alberic does not appear in sources after 1033, when he left the comital powers to his son the newly elected pope.

He married Ermelina and his son Theophylact III (or IV) became Pope Benedict IX in 1032. He was succeeded by his second son Gregory II and left three other sons: the consul, dux et senator Romanorum Peter, Octavian, and Guy, all titled "Count of Tusculum."

Antipope Benedict X

Pope/Antipope Benedict X (died 1073/1080) was born Giovanni, a son of Guido (the youngest son of Alberic III, Count of Tusculum), a brother of the notorious Pope Benedict IX (deposed in 1048), a member of the dominant political dynasty in the region at that time. He reportedly later was given the nickname of Mincius (thin) due to his ignorance.

Aribert (archbishop of Milan)

Aribert (or Heribert) (Italian: Ariberto da Intimiano, Lombard: Aribert de Intimian) (died 16 January 1045, Monza) was the archbishop of Milan from 1018, a quarrelsome warrior-bishop in an age in which such figures were not uncommon.Aribert went to Konstanz in June 1025, with other bishops of Northern Italy, to pay homage to Conrad II of Germany, the beleaguered founder of the Salian dynasty. There, in exchange for privileges, he agreed to crown Conrad with the Iron Crown of Lombardy, which the magnates had offered to Odo of Blois. This he did, on 26 March 1026, at Milan, for the traditional seat of Lombard coronations, Pavia, was still in revolt against imperial authority. He journeyed to Rome a year later for the imperial coronation of Conrad by Pope John XIX on 26 March 1027; at a synod at the Lateran he negotiated a decision of the precedence of the archdiocese of Milan over that of Ravenna. He subsequently joined an imperial military expedition into the Kingdom of Arles, which Conrad inherited upon the death in 1032 of Rudolph III of Burgundy, but which was contested by Odo.

In the political arena of Italy, power was disputed between the great territorial magnates— the capitanei— with their vassal captains and the lesser nobility— the valvassores— allied with the burghers of the Italian communes.

Aribert created enemies among the lower nobility, against whom he perpetrated the worst violences, and with the metropolitan of Ravenna, whose episcopal rights, along with those of the smaller sees, he ignored. A revolt soon engulfed northern Italy and, at Aribert's request, Conrad's son, the Emperor Henry III, travelled south of the Alps in the winter of 1036/37, to quell it. The Emperor, however, took the position of champion of the valvassores and demanded that Aribert should make a defence against charges brought against him, but Aribert refused, on the grounds that he was the emperor's equal. His consequent arrest provoked the rebellion of the anti-Imperial faction of the Milanese, seen by 19th-century historians as fiercely patriotic. Aribert had soon escaped his imprisonment and was leading the revolt from Milan. The Emperor found himself unable to take Milan by siege and proceeded to Rome, where his diplomatic skills succeeded in isolating Aribert from his erstwhile allies, notably through his famous decree of 28 May 1037, securing the tenancy of lesser vassals, both imperial and ecclesiastical. The Emperor took the step of deposing the fighting archbishop, and John's successor Pope Benedict IX excommunicated Aribert in March 1038. That year, he held up the carroccio as the symbol of Milan and soon it was the symbol of all the Tuscan cities as far as Rome. Aribert ended his episcopacy in relative peace, having agreed to cease hostilities with Henry, at Ingelheim in 1040, reconciled with him and obtained the revocation of his excommunication.

Azzo X d'Este

Azzo X d'Este (1344–1415) was an Italian condottiero, a member of the House of Este.

Born into a cadet branch of the family, he contested the seigniory of Ferrara to the young Niccolò III, an illegitimate son of marquess Alberto d'Este who was under the protection of Pope Benedict IX and Venice. After a failed attempt to poison him, Azzo created a compagnia of mercenaries, with the supports of some Este vassals. However, his invasions of the Ferrara territory was crushed by Azzo da Castello, and he retired to the Modenese.

With the help of Giovanni da Barbiano and an army of 8,000 men, in 1395 he tried again the capture of Ferrara, taking advantage of da Castello's death. But he was again heavily defeated at the Battle of Portomaggiore (April 16), this time by a Venetian army, and imprisoned. Later he was exiled to Candia (Crete).

He died in Venice in 1415.

Council of Sutri

The Council of Sutri (or Synod of Sutri) was called by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III and opened on December 20, 1046, in the hilltown of Sutri, at the edge of the Duchy of Rome. The Catholic Church does not list this as an ecumenical council.

The Annales Romani record the events thus:

"Henry, most victorious king by the grace of God...When he arrived at the city of Sutri, he called the Roman clergy along with Pope Gregory to meet with him. He ordered a special synod to be held in the holy church of Sutri and there, lawfully and canonically, he sat in judgment upon Bishop John of Sabina, called Silvester; the archpriest John, called Gregory; and the aforementioned Pope Benedict."

The council was called to resolve disorder over the papacy. A faction in the church encouraged Henry III to intervene, both to resolve the conflict and to receive his crown from the pope in an official ceremony. In the autumn of 1046 Henry III, already King of the Germans, crossed the Alps at the head of a large army and accompanied by a retinue of the secular and ecclesiastical princes of the empire, all of whom were his sworn vassals. Henry had two intentions, to be crowned Holy Roman emperor by the pope at Rome and, in order that the pontiff concerned have an unassailable title—one that would not cast doubts upon his conferred imperial title— to establish order in the Duchy of Rome.

Rome was in a state of warfare between noble factions, each of whom had a candidate they regarded as pope. A pope presided at St. Peter's, another at the Lateran and a third at Saint Mary Major. Two of them, Benedict IX, a scion of the counts of Tusculum, and Sylvester III of the Crescenzi clan, represented rival factions of the Roman nobility. The claim of the third, Gregory VI, was peculiar in that he had purchased the title in good faith from Benedict IX two years previously. Each claimant had a number of supporters in the Roman church and held a portion of the city.

Henry was met by Gregory at Piacenza and was received with honor. It was decided that a synod should meet at Sutri, some 40 km north of Rome, well beyond the city's factional violence. Before the assembly Gregory testified that he had, "in all good faith and simplicity," purchased the papacy from Pope Benedict IX in 1044. After the departure of Benedict, the Bishop of Sabina had also declared himself pope, as Sylvester III. In 1045 Benedict, not having received his pay-off, returned to Rome and renewed his claim to the papacy.

The council summoned the three pontiffs, and both Sylvester and Gregory attended. The claims of all three popes were quickly dismissed. Sylvester was stripped of his sacerdotal rank and exiled to a monastery. Gregory resigned (his words were recorded as: "I, Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, do hereby adjudge myself to be removed from the pontificate of the Holy Roman Church, because of the enormous error which by simoniacal impurity has crept into and vitiated my election."), and the council ended on December 23. A form of the council was repeated in Rome the following day to oversee the dismissal of Benedict. The papacy was declared to be sede vacante.

On December 24-25 Henry turned first to the powerful Adalbert, Archbishop of Bremen, who refused the dangerous honor. Henry's next choice for the papacy was his personal confessor, Suidger, Bishop of his recently created See of Bamberg. Suidger became the new pope, taking the title Clement II, but insisting on retaining the See of Bamberg, which was a source of financial support beyond the reach of Roman factions. He was immediately enthroned on Christmas Day.

As his first pontifical act, Clement II placed the imperial crown upon his benefactor and the queen consort, Agnes, daughter of William V, Duke of Aquitaine. The new emperor received from the Romans and the pope the title and diadem of a Roman Patricius, a dignity with antecedents in the Late Empire, which since the tenth century had been assumed to confer the right to nominate the pontiff. Within a few decades the Gregorian Reforms would call this custom into question.

Benedict would again renew his claim to the papacy in 1047, when Clement II died.


Eadsige (died 29 October 1050), was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1038 to 1050. He crowned Edward the Confessor as king of England in 1043.

Gregory II, Count of Tusculum

Gregory II (died 1058) was the son of Alberic III, Count of Tusculum and Ermelina. He was the Count of Tusculum and the Lateran (Lateranensis et Tusculanensis comes) from 1044 to his death.

The Chronicon Monasterii Casinensis of Leo of Ostia records him as Gregorius de Alberico. The placement of this passage implies his death around 1058. Like his many forefathers, he carried the illustrious title of Romanorum patricius, consul, dux et senator ("Patrician, consul, duke, and senator of the Romans"), implying his secular command over Rome and its militia. His dual comital title implied his land- and fortress-holding power in both Rome itself and Tusculum, as supported by his alliance with the Papacy. In 1044, he led the expedition to restore his brother, Pope Benedict IX.

Before 1054, when he is last attested, Gregory had three sons and a daughter. His daughter, Theodora, married Pandulf (or Landulf), lord of Capaccio (1040–1052), son of Guaimar III of Salerno and Gaitelgrima and brother of Guaimar IV, with whom he was assassinated. Gregory's sons John and Peter died young, but his youngest son, Gregory III, succeeded him.

Liber Gomorrhianus

The Liber Gomorrhianus (Book of Gomorrah) is a book authored and published by the Benedictine monk St. Peter Damian during the Gregorian Reformation circa AD 1051. It is a treatise regarding various vices of the clergy, including sodomy, and the consequent need for reform.

Pandulf of Capaccio

Pandulf or Paldolf (died June 1052) was the first Lombard lord (dominus) of Capaccio in the Principality of Salerno.

Pandulf was the youngest son of Prince Guaimar III of Salerno and his second wife Gaitelgrima. He was born in the 1010s. The death of his elder half-brother, Prince John (III), in 1018 allowed him to inherit the lordship of Capaccio. A document of 1092 from the abbey of La Trinità della Cava, records how the division of the principality of Guaimar III was definitively effected between his sons in 1042, with the eldest, Guaimar IV, taking Salerno, his second son Guy taking Sorrento and Pandulf left with Capaccio.Pandulf was married to Theodora, daughter of Count Gregory II of Tusculum and thus niece of Pope Benedict IX. They had five sons—Gregory, John, Guaimar, Gisulf and Guy—and at least one daughter, Sichelgarda or Sichelgaita. There is some discrepancy as to how many times, and to whom, the latter was married. Her recorded husbands are the Normans Ascittinus of Sicigiano, and Roger of San Severino. She may have had an earlier marriage to Geoffrey of Medania. Pandulf's descendants were numerous, among them were the Lombard and Norman lords of Trentenaria, Corneto, Fasanella, Novi and San Severino.In July 1047, Bishop Amatus of Pesto exempted a church built and owned by Pandulf in Capaccio from episcopal authority, recognised its right to perform baptisms and confirmed Pandulf's right to choose whether the clergy of the church were secular or monastic. In return for these rights in his church, Pandulf paid the bishop six pounds of silver. Pandulf also owned the monastery of Saint Sophia in Salerno itself. After his death, it reverted to a church and was in ruins when acquired by La Trinità della Cava in 1100.Pandulf was assassinated alongside his brother Guaimar IV in June 1052. (The exact date is given variously as 2, 3 or 4 June.) They were the victims of a conspiracy among the Salernitan cavalry, provoked by the counts of Teano, in favour of Pandulf III.

Pope Benedict

Benedict has been the regnal name of sixteen Roman Catholic popes. The name is derived from the Latin benedictus, meaning "blessed"

Pope Benedict I (575–579)

Pope Benedict II (684–685)

Pope Benedict III (855–858)

Pope Benedict IV (900–903)

Pope Benedict V (964)

Pope Benedict VI (972–974)

Pope Benedict VII (974–983)

Pope Benedict VIII (1012–1024)

Pope Benedict IX (1032–1044, 1045–1046 & 1047–1048)

Pope Benedict XI (1303–1304)

Pope Benedict XII (1334–1342)

Pope Benedict XIII (1724–1730)

Pope Benedict XIV (1740–1758)

Pope Benedict XV (1914–1922)

Pope Benedict XVI (2005–2013) – Now pope emeritus (born 1927)Additionally, four antipopes have used the name Benedict:

Antipope Benedict X (1058–1059) – Several cardinals alleged that his election was irregular and he was deposed. His papacy, though later declared illegitimate, has been taken into account in the conventional numbering of subsequent Popes who took the same name.

Antipope Benedict XIII (1394–1423)

Antipope Benedict XIV (1424–1429) & (1430–1437) – Two individuals

Pope Damasus II

Pope Damasus II (; died 9 August 1048), born Poppo de' Curagnoni, was Pope from 17 July 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.Upon the death of Clement II, envoys from Rome were sent to the Emperor to ascertain who should be named pope. Henry named the Bishop of Brixen, Poppo de' Curagnoni. While the envoys were away, former pope Benedict IX reasserted himself and with the assistance of the disaffected Margrave of Tuscany once again assumed the papacy. Henry ordered Margrave Boniface to escort Bishop Poppo to Rome, but Boniface declined, pointing out that the Romans had already enthroned Benedict. Enraged, the Emperor ordered the Margrave to depose Benedict or suffer the consequences. Poppo became Pope in mid-July but died of malaria less than a month later, in Palestrina, where he had gone to avoid the heat of the city.

Pope John XIX

Pope John XIX (Latin: Ioannes XIX; died October 1032) was Pope from May 1024 to his death in 1032.

Saeculum obscurum

Saeculum obscurum (Latin: the Dark Age) is a name given to a period in the history of the Papacy during the first two-thirds of the 10th century, beginning with the installation of Pope Sergius III in 904 and lasting for sixty years until the death of Pope John XII in 964. During this period, the popes were influenced strongly by a powerful and corrupt aristocratic family, the Theophylacti, and their relatives.

Simeonstift of Trier

The St. Simeon’s Collegiate Church [German: Simeonstift] was a collegiate church in Trier, Germany, near the Roman city gate of the Porta Nigra [Latin, “Black Gate”]. Named after the Greek monk, St. Simeon of Trier, it is now a city museum in the former collegiate church’s buildings under the name, Stadtmuseum Simeonstift [City Museum of the Simeonstift].

The church was created in 1037. In 1028 Simeon of Trier settled at the Porta Nigra as a hermit. He was supposed to have walled himself up there at the gate’s east tower. After his death on 1 June 1035, he was buried in his room on the ground floor. In the same year, probably for Christmas, he was canonized by Pope Benedict IX, in one of the first canonizations ever made by a Pope. In honor of the new saint, they built the Simeonstift and converted the former tower to a Doppelkirche [German, “twin church”]. The Archbishop of Trier at that time, Poppo von Babenberg, personally had known the hermit and travelled with him. But a certificate of incorporation of the Simeonstift could not be obtained from him and it was probably never given. However, recent research showed that the church was founded soon after the canonization of Simeon.

The Simeonstift was a two-story cloister in four wings with a dormitory in the north wing and a refectory in the west wing. According to the dendrochronological findings, the north wing dates from 1040. The first reliable documentation is a document of 1048, which proves the existence of a provost’s office and therefore the existence of an collegiate church’s charter.

Emperor Henry IV in 1098 confirmed all his possessions to the Simeonstift and granted, namely, more than sixty properties and privileges to it.The doppelkirche conversion of the Porta Nigra was reversed more than 750 years later, in 1804, by the order of Napoleon. Since then, the city gate has reverted almost to its original Gallo-Roman condition. Only the Romanesque east side of the choir still testifies from the outside to the fact that the Porta Nigra was once an imposing church.

The Bad Popes

The Bad Popes is a 1969 book by E. R. Chamberlin documenting the lives of eight of the most controversial popes (papal years in parentheses):

Pope Stephen VI (896–897), who had his predecessor Pope Formosus exhumed, tried, de-fingered, briefly reburied, and thrown in the Tiber.

Pope John XII (955–964), who gave land to a mistress, murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife.

Pope Benedict IX (1032–1044, 1045, 1047–1048), who "sold" the Papacy.

Pope Boniface VIII (1294–1303), who is lampooned in Dante's Divine Comedy.

Pope Urban VI (1378–1389), who complained that he did not hear enough screaming when Cardinals who had conspired against him were tortured .

Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503), a Borgia, who was guilty of nepotism and whose unattended corpse swelled until it could barely fit in a coffin.

Pope Leo X (1513–1521), a spendthrift member of the Medici family who once spent 1/7 of his predecessors' reserves on a single ceremony.

Pope Clement VII (1523–1534), also a Medici, whose power-politicking with France, Spain, and Germany got Rome sacked.


Theophylact or Theophylactus (Latin Theophylactus, Greek Theophylaktos, "guarded by God") may refer to:

Theophylact Simocatta (7th century), Byzantine author and historian

Theophylactus (Exarch) (died 710), Exarch of Ravenna

Patriarch Theophylactus of Alexandria (7th–8th centuries), coadjutor Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria

Theophylact of Antioch (8th century), Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch

Archdeacon Theophylact (8th century), archdeacon of the Roman Church

Peter of Atroa or Theophylact (773–837)

Theophylact Rhangabe (8th century), Byzantine admiral

Theophylact (son of Michael I) (793–849), Byzantine co-emperor

Theophylact of Nicomedia (died 845), Bishop of Nicomedia

Theophylact I, Count of Tusculum (9th–10th centuries)

Theophylact of Constantinople (917–956), Patriarch of Constantinople

Theophylact Dalassenos (10th–11th centuries)

Theophylact Botaneiates (fl. died 1014)

Pope Benedict VIII or Theophylactus (died 1024)

Pope Benedict IX or Theophylactus (11th century)

Theophylact of Ohrid (died c. 1107), Archbishop of Ohrid and biblical commentator

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
13th–16th centuries
Viterbo (1257–1281)
Orvieto (1262–1297)
Perugia (1228–1304)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy
Bible and
By country
of the faithful
Early Church
Late antiquity
Early Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages
19th century
20th century
21st century

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