Pope Gregory VI

Pope Gregory VI (Latin: Gregorius VI; died 1048), born John Gratian in Rome (Latin: Johannes Gratianus), was Pope from 1 May 1045 until his abdication at the Council of Sutri on 20 December 1046.


Gregory VI
Pope Gregory VI
Papacy began1 May 1045
Papacy ended20 December 1046
PredecessorBenedict IX
SuccessorClement II
Created cardinal1012
by Pope Benedict VIII
Personal details
Birth nameJohannes Gratianus
BornRome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Cologne (most likely), Germany, Holy Roman Empire
Papal styles of
Pope Gregory VI
Emblem of the Papacy SE
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous stylenone


Theophylactus of Tusculum was twenty years old when, in 1032, his father, Alberic III, Count of Tusculum, purchased his election as pope through some well-placed bribes. The young man took the name Benedict IX, after his uncle, Benedict VIII. Factional strife increased and in September 1044 members of the Roman nobility ousted Benedict and, in January 1045, replaced him with their own candidate, the bishop of Sabina, who took the name Sylvester III.

The following March, Benedict was able to return and sent Sylvester back to his diocese. Shortly thereafter, Benedict approached his godfather, Gratian, and indicating that he wished to marry, offered to resign, provided he were reimbursed for his election expenses. Desirous of seeing Rome free of Benedict, Gratian agreed, and by May was recognized as Benedict's successor under the name Gregory VI.

Benedict then had second thoughts and again laid claim to the papal throne. Supporters of Sylvester, however, had not given up his claim. With three parties claiming the papacy and controlling their respective parts of the city, influential members of both the clergy and the laity asked the Henry III, King of the Germans to intervene. Henry expected to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor, but preferred it be done by a pope whose legitimacy was not in question. Henry crossed the Alps and, in December 1046, convened the Council of Sutri, which deposed Benedict and Sylvester. Gregory agreed to resign; and the Bishop of Bamberg was installed as Pope Clement II.[1]

Gregory's chaplain was Hildebrand, who later became Pope Gregory VII.

Early career

Gratian, the Archpriest of St. John by the Latin Gate,[2] was a man of great reputation for uprightness of character. He was also the godfather of Pope Benedict IX, who, at the age of twenty, was foisted on the papacy by his powerful family, the Theophylacti, counts of Tusculum.

Benedict IX, wishing to marry and vacate the position into which he had been thrust by his family, consulted his godfather as to whether he could resign the pontificate. When he was convinced that he might do so, he offered to give up the papacy into the hands of his godfather if he would reimburse him for his election expenses.[3] Desirous of ridding the See of Rome of such an unworthy pontiff, John Gratian paid him the money and was recognized as Pope in his stead.[4]


The accession of Gratian, who took the name Gregory VI, did not bring peace, though it was hailed with joy even by such a strict upholder of the right as St. Peter Damian. When Benedict IX left the city after selling the papacy, there was already another aspirant to the See of Peter in the field. John, Bishop of Sabina, had been hailed as Pope Sylvester III by the faction of the nobility that had driven Benedict IX from Rome in 1044, and had then installed him in his place. Though Benedict IX soon returned, and forced Sylvester III to retire to his See of Sabina, Sylvester never gave up his claims to the papal throne, and through his political allies contrived apparently to keep some hold on a portion of Rome.[4]

To complicate matters, Benedict IX, unable to obtain the bride on whom he had set his heart, soon repented his resignation, claimed the papacy again, and in his turn is thought to have succeeded in acquiring dominion over a part of the city.[4]

With an empty exchequer and a clergy that had largely lost the savour of righteousness, Gregory VI was confronted by an almost hopeless task. Nevertheless, with the aid of his "capellanus" or chaplain, Hildebrand,[2] destined to be Pope Gregory VII, he tried to bring about civil and religious order. He strove to effect the latter by means of letters and councils, and the former by force of arms. But the factions of his rivals were too strong to be put down, and the confusion only increased.

Convinced that nothing could meet the challenges facing the Church except imperial intervention, a number of influential clergy and laity separated themselves from communion with Gregory VI or either of his two rivals and implored Emperor Henry III to cross the Alps and restore order. Henry III responded to these pleas by descending into Italy in the autumn of 1046.[4]

Strong in the conviction of his innocence, Gregory VI went north to meet him. He was received by Henry III with all the honour due to a Pope, and in accordance with the royal request, summoned a council to meet at Sutri.[4]

Of his rivals, Sylvester III alone presented himself at the synod, which was opened on 20 December 1046. Both his claim to the papacy and that of Benedict IX were soon disposed of. Deprived of all clerical rank and considered a usurper from the beginning, Sylvester III was condemned to be confined in a monastery for the rest of his life.[4]

Gregory VI was accused of purchasing the papacy and freely admitted it; however, he disputed that this act, given the circumstances, constituted the crime of simony. However, the bishops of the synod impressed upon Gratian that this act was indeed simoniacal, regardless of his virtuous motivations for it, and called upon him to resign. Gregory VI, seeing that little choice was left to him,[4] complied of his own accord and laid down his office.

Gregory VI was succeeded in the papacy by the German bishop of Bamberg, Suidger, who took the name Pope Clement II.

Gregory VI himself was taken by the Emperor to Germany in May 1047, where he died in 1048, probably at Cologne.

Gregory VI was accompanied by Hildebrand, who remained with him until his death. After about a year in Cluny, Hildebrand returned to Rome in January 1049 with the new Pope Leo IX (Bruno of Toul), successor of Popes Clement II and Damasus II. And when Hildebrand himself was elected Pope in 1073, he deliberately chose for himself the title Pope Gregory VII in order to proclaim his firm and loyal belief in the legitimacy of Gratian as Pope Gregory VI.

See also


  1. ^ Fisher, Max. "The bizarre stories of the four other popes to have resigned in the last 1,000 years", The Washington Post, February 11, 2013
  2. ^ a b Cowdrey, H. E. J., Pope Gregory VII, 1073-1085, Clarendon Press, 1998, p. 29, ISBN 9780191584596
  3. ^ Blumenthal, Uta-Renate. "Gregory VI", Medieval Italy, (Christopher Kleinhenz, ed.), Routledge, 2004 ISBN 9781135948801
  4. ^ a b c d e f g  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainMann, Horace (1909). "Pope Gregory VI". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. 6. New York: Robert Appleton. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
Titles of Chalcedonian Christianity
Preceded by
Benedict IX
Succeeded by
Clement 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.


Year 1046 (MXLVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Gratian (disambiguation)

Gratian can refer to:

Felinus and Gratian (d. 250 AD), martyrs and saints

Gratian the Elder, a 4th-century Roman soldier. Father of the emperors Valens and Valentinian and grandfather of:

Gratian the later fourth century Roman Emperor

Gratian, a 5th-century Romano-British usurper and emperor

Pope Gregory VI (died 1047), whose name was John Gratian before he assumed the papacy

the author of the 12th-century Decretum Gratiani

Gratian of Tours (Gatian), bishop of Tours

Gregory (given name)

The masculine first name Gregory derives from the Latin name "Gregorius", which came from the late Greek name "Γρηγόριος" (Grēgorios) meaning "watchful, alert" (derived from Greek "γρηγoρεῖν" "grēgorein" meaning "to watch").

Through folk etymology, the name also became associated with Latin grex (stem greg–) meaning "flock" or "herd". This association with a shepherd who diligently guides his flock contributed to the name's popularity among monks and popes.

Sixteen popes and two antipopes have used the name Gregorius, starting with Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great). It is tied with Benedict as the second-most popular name for pope, after John. Because of this background, it is also a very common name for saints. Although the name was uncommon in the early 20th century, after the popularity of the actor Gregory Peck it became one of the ten most common male names in the United States in the 1950s and has remained popular since.

Gregory VI

Gregory VI may refer to:

Pope Gregory VI, John Gratian, elected 1045; abdicated at the Council of Sutri in 1046; died 1048

Antipope Gregory VI first to claim to be Pope as successor to Pope Sergius, and that Benedict VIII's claim was subsequent

Gregory VI of Cilicia aka Gregory VI Apirat or Grigor VI Apirat, catholicos of the Armenian Church

Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory VI of Constantinople (1798–1881), Georgios Fourtouniadis, reigned 1835–1840 and 1867–1871

History of the papacy (1048–1257)

The history of the papacy from 1048 to 1257 was marked by conflict between popes and the Holy Roman Emperor, most prominently the Investiture Controversy, a dispute over who— pope or emperor— could appoint bishops within the Empire. Henry IV's Walk to Canossa in 1077 to meet Pope Gregory VII (1073–85), although not dispositive within the context of the larger dispute, has become legendary. Although the emperor renounced any right to lay investiture in the Concordat of Worms (1122), the issue would flare up again.

The Imperial crown once held by the Carolingian emperors was disputed between their fractured heirs and local overlords; none emerged victorious until Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor invaded Italy. Italy became a constituent kingdom of the Holy Roman Empire in 962, from which point emperors were Germanic. As emperors consolidated their position, northern Italian city-states would become divided by Guelphs and Ghibellines.

Long-standing divisions between East and West also came to a head in the East-West Schism and the Crusades. The first seven Ecumenical Councils had been attended by both Western and Eastern prelates, but growing doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political, and geographic differences finally resulted in mutually denunciations and excommunications. Pope Urban II (1088–99) speech at the Council of Clermont in 1095 became the rallying cry of the First Crusade.

Unlike the previous millennium, the process for papal selection became somewhat fixed during this period. Pope Nicholas II promulgated In Nomine Domini in 1059, which limited suffrage in papal elections to the College of Cardinals. The rules and procedures of papal elections evolved during this period, laying the groundwork for the modern papal conclave. The driving force behind these reforms was Cardinal Hildebrand, who later became Gregory VII.

Hryhoriy Yakhymovych

Hryhoriy Yakhymovych (Ukrainian: Григорій Яхимович, Polish: Hryhorij Jachymowycz; 16 February 1792 – 29 April 1863) was the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and also a leading figure in the Ukrainian National Revival, from 1860 until his death in 1863.

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. 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.

Pope Clement II

Pope Clement II (Latin: Clemens II; born Suidger von Morsleben; died 9 October 1047), was Pope from 25 December 1046 until his death in 1047. He was the first in a series of reform-minded popes from Germany.

Suidger was the Bishop of Bamberg. In 1046, he accompanied Henry, King of Germany, when at the request of laity and clergy of Rome, Henry went to Italy and summoned the Council of Sutri, which deposed Popes Benedict IX and Sylvester III, and accepted the resignation of Gregory VI. Henry suggested Suidger for Pope, and he was then elected, taking the name of Clement II. Clement then proceeded with the coronation of Henry as Holy Roman Emperor.

Clement's brief tenure as pope saw the enactment of more stringent prohibitions against simony.

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 Gregory

Gregory has been the name of sixteen Roman Catholic Popes and two Antipopes. The Latin name is Gregorius.

Pope Gregory I "the Great" (590–604), after whom the Gregorian chant is named

Pope Gregory II (715–731)

Pope Gregory III (731–741)

Pope Gregory IV (827–844)

Pope Gregory V (996–999)

Pope Gregory VI (1045–1046)

Antipope Gregory VI

Pope Gregory VII (1073–1085), after whom the Gregorian Reform is named

Pope Gregory VIII (1187)

Antipope Gregory VIII

Pope Gregory IX (1227–1241)

Pope Gregory X (1271–1276)

Pope Gregory XI (1370–1378)

Pope Gregory XII (1406–1415)

Pope Gregory XIII (1572–1585), after whom the Gregorian calendar is named

Pope Gregory XIV (1590–1591)

Pope Gregory XV (1621–1623)

Pope Gregory XVI (1831–1846)

Pope Sylvester III

Pope Sylvester III or Silvester III (1000 – October 1063), born Giovanni dei Crescenzi–Ottaviani in Rome, was Pope from 20 January to March 1045.

Robert de Turlande

Saint Robert de Turlande (c. 1000 - 17 April 1067) was a French Roman Catholic priest and professed member of the Order of Saint Benedict. He was of noble stock and was also related to Saint Gerald of Aurillac. He is best known for the establishment of the Benedictine convent of La Chaise-Dieu ('Home of God') and for his total commitment to the poor.He became a spiritual inspiration for Pope Clement VI - whose own origins in the religious life were based at that convent - and it was he who canonized the Benedictine abbot on 19 September 1531 in Avignon.

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.


Sutri (Latin Sutrium) is an Ancient town, modern comune and former bishopric (now a Latin titular see) in the province of Viterbo, about 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Rome and about 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Viterbo. It is picturesquely situated on a narrow tuff hill, surrounded by ravines, a narrow neck on the west alone connecting it with the surrounding country.

The modern comune of Sutri has a few more than 5,000 inhabitants. Its ancient remains are a major draw for tourism: a Roman amphitheatre excavated in the tuff rock, an Etruscan necropolis with dozens of rock-cut tombs, a Mithraeum incorporated in the crypt of its church of the Madonna del Parto, a Romanesque Duomo.

Tusculan Papacy

The Tusculan Papacy was a period of papal history from 1012 to 1048 where three successive Counts of Tusculum installed themselves as pope.

Witchcraft in Anglo-Saxon England

Witchcraft in Anglo-Saxon England refers to the belief and practice of magic by the Anglo-Saxons between the 5th and 11th centuries AD in Early Mediaeval England. Surviving evidence regarding Anglo-Saxon witchcraft beliefs comes primarily from the latter part of this period, after England had been Christianised. This Christian era evidence includes penitentials, pastoral letters, homilies and hagiographies, in all of which Christian preachers denounce the practice of witchcraft as un-Christian, as well as both secular and ecclesiastical law codes, which mark it out as a criminal offence.

From surviving historical and archaeological evidence from the period, contemporary scholars believe that beliefs regarding magic in Anglo-Saxon England revolved largely around magico-medicinal healing, the use of various charms, amulets and herbal preparations to cure the sick. Literary accounts of many of these medicinal charms still survive. Archaeologists have also argued that certain burials, both in the pagan and Christian periods, represented female magical practitioners, of "cunning women", who may have practised witchcraft alongside benevolent magic.

Year of three popes

A year of three popes is a common reference to a year when the College of Cardinals of the Catholic Church are required to elect two new popes within the same calendar year. Such a year generally occurs when a newly elected pope dies or resigns very early into his papacy. This results in the Catholic Church being led by three different popes during the same calendar year.

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

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.