|Papacy began||22 May 896|
|Papacy ended||August 897|
|Other popes named Stephen|
Stephen is chiefly remembered in connection with his conduct towards the remains of Pope Formosus, his penultimate predecessor. 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 (or Synodus Horrenda) in January 897. Pressure from the Spoleto contingent and Stephen's fury with his predecessor probably precipitated this extraordinary event.
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' enemies of the House of Spoleto (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.
|Catholic Church titles|
Year 897 (DCCCXCVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.898
Year 898 (DCCCXCVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.Ageltrude
Ageltrude (also spelled Agiltrude) (died 27 August 923) was the Empress and Queen of Italy as wife and mother respectively of Guy (reigned 891–94) and Lambert (reigned 894–98). 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.
She was the daughter of Prince Adelchis of Benevento and Adeltrude. She married Guy in the early 880s, when he was still just the duke and margrave of Spoleto and Camerino.In 894, she accompanied her 14-year-old son, Lambert, to Rome to be confirmed as emperor by Pope Formosus, who supported the Carolingian claimant Arnulf of Carinthia. In 896, she and her son were holed up in Spoleto when Arnulf marched into Rome and was crowned in opposition to Lambert. Arnulf was soon paralysed by a stroke and Formosus died. Ageltrude quickly interfered to assert her authority in Rome and have elected her candidate as Pope Stephen VI. At her and Lambert's request, the body of Formosus was disinterred and tried, convicted and hurled into the Tiber in the Cadaver Synod. Lambert became Lambert II of Spoleto.Argrim
Argrim (French: Argrin, Latin: Argrimus) was one of the rival bishops of Langres following the disputed election of 888. He was the uncontested bishop after 899 until his retirement in 910. Before becoming bishop he was a monk of Saint-Bénigne de Dijon.The death of bishop Geilo of Langres on 28 June 888 after the death of the Emperor Charles III in January resulted in the election of the bishop's successor taking place amidst political upheaval. Argrim was elected by the people in accordance with canon law, and was consecrated by archbishop Aurelian of Lyon. Despite the legality of the entire procedure, archbishop Fulk of Reims, a partisan of Carolingian legitimist claimant Charles III, opposed it and tried to install a rival bishop, Theutbald II. Although Pope Stephen V sided with Fulk, Aurelian refused to consecrate Theutbald and Argrim remained in power at Langres. During this time, Argrim had the support of King Odo of France, who issued a diploma to him on 19 December 889.After two years and three months, in the autumn of 890, Argrim was forced to flee Langres and Theutbald was installed as bishop. According to the Annales Vedastini, in late 894 Theutbald was assassinated and Argrim returned to power. Pope Formosus immediately anathematised the assassins, but granted the pallium to Argrim. In 896, Pope Stephen VI, who had been an enemy of Formosus, declared Argrim deposed. Argrim went to Rome to protest, and in 899 John IX revoked the deposition. His successor, Benedict IV, confirmed the revocation. In 910 Argrim resigned and returned to Saint-Bénigne de Dijon. His tombstone is preserved in the museum of Chalon-sur-Saône. It reads:
+ IN HOC SEPVLCRO QVI
ESCIT ARGRIMVS MONV
QVONDAM EP'S LINGONI
QVI OBIIT VII KL' FB'RArnulf of Carinthia
Arnulf of Carinthia (c. 850 – December 8, 899) 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.Auxilius of Naples
Auxilius of Naples (which has been considered a pseudonym) was an ecclesiastical writer. To him are attributed a series of writings that deal with the controversies concerning the succession and fate of Pope Formosus (891-896), and especially the validity of the orders conferred by him. Auxilius was a Frank, who was ordained a priest, or perhaps only a deacon, in Rome by Formosus, and lived later in southern Italy, apparently at Naples.Cadaver Synod
The Cadaver Synod (also called the Cadaver Trial; Latin: Synodus Horrenda) is the name commonly given to the posthumous ecclesiastical trial of Pope Formosus, held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome during January 897. The trial was conducted by Pope Stephen VI (sometimes called Stephen VII), 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
Lambert (c. 880 – 15 October 898) was the King of Italy from 891, Holy Roman Emperor, co-ruling with his father from 892, and Duke of Spoleto and Camerino (as Lambert II) 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.Liber Pontificalis
The Liber Pontificalis (Latin for 'pontifical book' or Book of the Popes) is a book of biographies of popes from Saint Peter until the 15th century. The original publication of the Liber Pontificalis stopped with Pope Adrian II (867–872) or Pope Stephen V (885–891), but it was later supplemented in a different style until Pope Eugene IV (1431–1447) and then Pope Pius II (1458–1464). Although quoted virtually uncritically from the 8th to 18th centuries, the Liber Pontificalis has undergone intense modern scholarly scrutiny. The work of the French priest Louis Duchesne (who compiled the major scholarly edition), and of others has highlighted some of the underlying redactional motivations of different sections, though such interests are so disparate and varied as to render improbable one popularizer's claim that it is an "unofficial instrument of pontifical propaganda."The title Liber Pontificalis goes back to the 12th century, although it only became current in the 15th century, and the canonical title of the work since the edition of Duchesne in the 19th century. In the earliest extant manuscripts it is referred to as Liber episcopalis in quo continentur acta beatorum pontificum Urbis Romae ('episcopal book in which are contained the acts of the blessed pontiffs of the city of Rome') and later the Gesta or Chronica pontificum.List of popes who died violently
A collection of popes who have had violent deaths through the centuries. The circumstances have ranged from martyrdom (Pope Stephen I) to war (Lucius II), to a beating by a jealous husband (Pope John XII). A number of other popes have died under circumstances that some believe to be murder, but for which definitive evidence has not been found.Pope Formosus
Pope Formosus (c. 816 – 896) was Cardinal-bishop and Pope, his papacy lasting from 6 October 891 to his death in 896. His brief 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. Formosus's remains were exhumed and put on trial in the Cadaver Synod.Pope John IX
Pope John IX can also refer to Pope John IX of Alexandria.Pope John IX (Latin: Ioannes IX; died January 900) was Pope from January 898 to his death in 900.Pope Romanus
Pope Romanus (died November 897) was Pope from August to November 897.Pope Stephen
Pope Stephen may refer to any of several men who were Pope or who were elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Historically, there have been two regnal numbering systems used when referring to Popes called "Stephen" starting with Pope-elect Stephen. See Pope-elect Stephen for detailed explanation.
Pope Stephen I (died 257), Bishop of Rome from 254–257
Pope-elect Stephen (died 752), also known as Pope Stephen II, elected Pope but died before his consecration
Pope Stephen II (III) (died 757), pope from 752–757
Pope Stephen III (IV) (720–772), pope from 768–772
Pope Stephen IV (V) (died 817), pope from 816–817
Pope Stephen V (VI) (died 891), pope from 885–891
Pope Stephen VI (VII) (died 897), pope from 896–897
Pope Stephen VII (VIII) (died 931), pope from 929–931
Pope Stephen VIII (IX) (died 942), pope from 939–942
Pope Stephen IX (X) (c. 1020–1058), pope from 1057–1058Pope Theodore II
Pope Theodore II (Latin: Theodorus II; 840 – December 897) was Pope 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 feudal violence and disorder in central Italy. His main act as pope was to annul the "Cadaver Synod" of the previous January, 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.Posthumous execution
Posthumous execution is the ritual or ceremonial mutilation of an already dead body as a punishment. It is typically performed to show that even in death, one cannot escape justice.Stephen
Stephen or Steven is a common English first name. It is particularly significant to Christians, as it belonged to Saint Stephen (Greek Στέφανος Stéphanos), an early disciple and deacon who, according to the Book of Acts, was stoned to death; he is widely regarded as the first martyr (or "protomartyr") of the Christian Church. The name "Stephen" (and its common variant "Steven") is derived from Greek Στέφανος (Stéphanos), a first name from the Greek word στέφανος (stéphanos), meaning "wreath, crown" and by extension "reward, honor, renown, fame", from the verb στέφειν (stéphein), "to encircle, to wreathe". In Ancient Greece, crowning wreaths (such as laurel wreaths) were given to the winners of contests. Originally, as the verb suggests, the noun had a more general meaning of any "circle"—including a circle of people, a circling wall around a city, and, in its earliest recorded use, the circle of a fight, which is found in the Iliad of Homer.The name, in both the forms Stephen and Steven, is commonly shortened to Steve or Stevie. In English, the female version of the name is "Stephanie". Many surnames are derived from the first name, including Stephens, Stevens, Stephenson, and Stevenson, all of which mean "Stephen's (son)". In modern times especially the name has sometimes been given with intentionally nonstandard spelling, such as Stevan or Stevon. A common variant of the name used in English is Stephan ; related names that have found some currency or significance in English include Stefan (pronounced or in English), Esteban (often pronounced ), and the Shakespearean Stephano . Like all biblical names, Stephen has forms in almost all major world languages. Some of these include:
Esteban (Spanish; Spanish pronunciation: [esˈteβan]);
Sītífán (Mandarin Chinese);
Stefan (German, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Serbian; German pronunciation: [ˈʃteːfan]);
Степан/Stepan (Russian, Ukrainian);
Štefan (Slovak and Slovenian);
Stefano (Italian and Swahili);
Stefanos (modern Greek, modern Hebrew, and Estonian);
Stefans (Latvian and
Szczepan (Polish); and
In the United Kingdom, it peaked during the 1950s and 1960s as one of the top ten male first names (ranking third in 1954) but had fallen to twentieth by 1984 and had fallen out of the top one hundred by 2002. The name was ranked 201 in the United States in 2009, according to the Social Security Administration. The name reached its peak popularity in 1951 but remained very common through the mid-1990s, when popularity started to decrease in the United States.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.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.
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
|History of the papacy|
of the faithful
|Early Middle Ages|
|High Middle Ages|
|Late Middle Ages|