Pope Stephen VIII

Pope Stephen VIII (Latin: Stephanus VIII; d. October 942) was Pope from 14 July 939 to his death in 942.


Stephen VIII
Stephen VIII
Papacy began14 July 939
Papacy endedOctober 942
PredecessorLeo VII
SuccessorMarinus II
Personal details
Birth nameStephanus
BornRome, Papal States
DiedOctober 942
Rome, Papal States
Previous postCardinal-Priest of Santi Silvestre e Martino ai Monti (5 April 938-14 July 939)
Other popes named Stephen


Stephen VIII was born of a Roman family, and prior to becoming pope was attached to the church of Saints Silvester and Martin.[1] With his elevation as Bishop of Rome, Stephen gave his attention to the situation in West Francia, or as the Romans still referred to it, Gaul. In early 940, Stephen intervened on behalf of Louis IV of France, who had been trying to bring to heel his rebellious dukes, Hugh the Great and Herbert II, Count of Vermandois, both of whom had appealed for support from the German king Otto I.[2] The Pope dispatched a Papal legate to the Frankish nobles, instructing them to acknowledge Louis, and to cease their rebellious actions against him, under threat of excommunication. Although the embassy did not achieve its stated objective, it did have the effect of removing the support of the Frankish bishops who had been backing Hugh and Herbert.[3]

Emboldened by this, Stephen then sought to break up the alliance against Louis by offering Herbert’s son, Hugh of Vermandois, the office of Archbishop of Reims.[3] Along with the Pallium (the symbol of office for the archbishop), Stephen sent another legate, with instructions to the Frankish nobility, insisting that they submit to Louis.[4] This time they were informed that if the pope had not received their embassies by Christmas, notifying him of their intent to submit to the king, they would be excommunicated.[3] This time, there was a shift in support to Louis, as a number of the more important nobles declared for him, and by the end of 942, all of the nobility had affirmed their loyalty to Louis, and notified the pope of their intent.[5]

Closer to home, things were a lot more difficult for Stephen. The continuing domination of the Counts of Tusculum was evident throughout Stephen’s pontificate, as it was during that of his predecessors and successors (see Saeculum obscurum). Although Stephen was subject to Alberic II of Spoleto, Prince of the Romans, and did not in reality rule the Papal States, Stephen himself was not a member of that family, nor had he any relationship with Marozia, who had dominated Roman and papal politics during the preceding decades.[6] Stephen was however caught up in the ongoing conflict between Alberic II and Hugh of Italy, with Hugh besieging Rome in 940.[7] After a failed assassination attempt against Alberic, which involved a number of bishops, Alberic cracked down on any potential dissent in Rome, with his enemies either scourged, beheaded or imprisoned. If there is any truth to Martin of Opava’s account of the torture and maiming of Stephen VIII by supporters of Alberic (see below), it must have occurred at this juncture, in the aftermath of the conspiracy, and just prior to Stephen’s death.[8]

On 17 August 942 Alberic summoned a council in Rome, where he demonstrated his control over the papacy by making use of various papal officials, such as the Primicerius, the Secundicerius of the Notaries, and the Vestararius.[9] Stephen died during October 942, and was succeeded by Marinus II.

Alternative account

According to the late 13th century chronicler Martin of Opava, Stephen VIII was described as being a German, who was elected pope due to the power and influence of his royal relative, the German king Otto I. Martin states that Otto ignored the will of the cardinals in imposing Stephen upon them, and because Stephen was hated for being a German, he was taken by supporters of Alberic II, who proceeded to maim and disfigure him to such an extent that Stephen was unable to appear in public again.[10] This version of events has largely been discredited;[11] contemporary and near-contemporary catalogues state that Stephen was a Roman. Further, Otto’s intervention in and influence over Italian affairs was still over a decade away, and during this period Otto was still trying to consolidate his hold on power in Germany, with major rebellions by the German dukes. Consequently, Otto would have been too preoccupied to concern himself over the papal succession at this juncture. Finally, Stephen’s intervention on behalf of the Frankish king Louis IV (who was in conflict with Otto) would not have occurred had Stephen been a relative of the German king, and had Stephen received the papal throne through Otto’s intervention.[1] The maiming of Stephen may have occurred, however, in the aftermath of the conspiracy against Alberic in the middle of 942.


  • Mann, Horace K., The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages, Vol. IV: The Popes in the Days of Feudal Anarchy, 891-999 (1910)


  1. ^ a b Mann, pg. 213
  2. ^ Mann, pgs. 213-214
  3. ^ a b c Mann, pg. 214
  4. ^ DeCormenin, Louis Marie; Gihon, James L., A Complete History of the Popes of Rome, from Saint Peter, the First Bishop to Pius the Ninth (1857), pg. 290
  5. ^ Mann, pgs. 214-215
  6. ^ Mann, pg. 217
  7. ^ Mann, pg. 215
  8. ^ Norwich, John Julius, The Popes: A History (2011), pg. 76
  9. ^ Mann, pgs. 215-216
  10. ^ Mann, pgs. 212-213
  11. ^ Gregorovius, Ferdinand, The History of Rome in the Middle Ages, Vol. VI, pg. 633

External links

  • Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Stephen (VIII) IX" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Marinus II

The 940s decade ran from January 1, 940, to December 31, 949.

== Events ==

=== 940 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

The tribe of the Polans begin the construction of the fortified settlements: Giecz, Bnin, Ląd, Gniezno, Poznań, Grzybowo and Ostrów Lednicki in Greater Poland. The Piast Dynasty under Duke Siemomysł gains control over other groups of Polans along the Upper Vistula and establish their rule around Giecz (approximate date).

====== Japan ======

March 25 – Taira no Masakado, the self-proclaimed 'new emperor', is subdued by local rivals who revolt against his rule. His forces are defeated by his cousin, Taira no Sadamori, in Shimōsa Province. Masakado's head is brought back to Emperor Suzaku in Tokyo.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

Saadia Gaon, a Jewish rabbi and philosopher, compiles his Siddur (Jewish prayer book) in Arabic and synagogal poetry in modern-day Iraq (approximate date).

====== Religion ======

Narita-san ("New victory temple"), a Shingon Buddhist temple, is founded in Chiba (Japan).

=== 941 ===

==== By place ====

====== Abbasid Caliphate ======

Night of 7/8 March: the famed Green Dome of the Palace of the Golden Gate in Baghdad collapses amidst heavy rainfall.

====== Byzantine Empire ======

May–September – Rus'–Byzantine War: The Rus' and their allies, the Pechenegs, under the Varangian prince Igor I of Kiev, cross the Black Sea with an invasion fleet of 1,000 ships (40,000 men) and disembark on the northern coast of Asia Minor. While the Byzantine fleet is engaged against the Arabs in the Mediterranean, the Rus' forces reach the gates of Constantinople. Emperor Romanos I organizes the defense of the capital and assembles 15 old ships (equipped with throwers of Greek fire) under the chamberlain (protovestiarios) Theophanes. The Byzantines repel the Rus' fleet (nearly annihilating the entire fleet) but can not prevent the invaders from pillaging the hinterland of Constantinople, venturing as far south as Nicomedia (modern-day İzmit). In September, John Kourkouas and Bardas Phokas ("the Elder"), two leading generals, destroy the Rus' forces in Thrace. Igor manages, with only a handful of boats, to escape to the Caspian Sea.

====== Europe ======

Spring – Henry I, duke of Bavaria, plots to assassinate his brother, King Otto I, at the royal palace in Quedlinburg (modern Saxony-Anhalt), but the conspiracy is discovered and Henry is put in captivity in Ingelheim. He is released after doing penance at Christmas.

Fall – Hugh of Provence, king of Italy, leads a fourth expedition to Rome to dislodge Alberic II. He proceeds to Lazio, preparing a campaign to capture the papal capital. Again the attacks fail and Hugh retreats to Milan.

Olaf Guthfrithson, a Norse-Irish chieftain, is killed while raiding an ancient Anglian church at Tyninghame (Northern Northumbria). He is succeeded by his cousin Olaf Sigtryggsson as ruler of Jórvik (modern Yorkshire).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Oda ("the Good") is appointed archbishop of Canterbury in England after the death of Wulfhelm.

Kaminarimon, the eight-pillared gate to the Sensō-ji Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Japan, is erected.

=== 942 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Summer – The Hungarians invade Al-Andalus (modern Spain) and besiege the fortress city of Lerida. They devastate Cerdanya and Huesca, and capture Yahya ibn Muhammad ibn al Tawil, Umayyad governor (wali) of the town of Barbastro. Lacking food stores and sufficient forage, the Hungarians retreat to the Gothic March.

Battle of Fraxinet: King Hugh of Provence launches an attack on Fraxinet, the Moorish fortress on the Côté d'Azur that had taken control of the Piedmontese valleys. With the assistance of a Byzantine fleet sent by Emperor Romanos I, Hugh lays siege to the Moorish fortress with the help of Hungarian auxiliary troops (Kabars).

Fall – Hugh of Provence makes a truce with the Moors of Fraxinet, after hearing the news that a Swabian army is about to descend on Italy. He allows the Moors to attack the Alpine passes for his own political ends in his struggle with Berengar of Ivrea. The Byzantines cry foul and end their alliance with Hugh.

December 17 – William I ("Longsword"), duke of Normandy, is ambushed and assassinated by supporters of Arnulf I ("the Great"), count of Flanders, while the two are at a peace conference at Picquigny (on an island on the Somme) to settle their differences. William is succeeded by his 9-year-old son Richard.

Winter – The Hungarians raid Friuli and descend into central Italy. Hugh of Provence grants them a large sum of tribute if they return to the Gothic March or Spain. The Hungarians refuse the offer and raid the countryside of Lazio, destroying the region of Sabina.

====== England ======

King Edmund I moves with his army north to reconquer the Five Boroughs (the five main towns of Danish Mercia) in modern-day East Midlands from the Norse-Irish king Olaf Sigtryggsson.

Idwal Foel, king of Gwynedd, openly rebels against the overlordship of Edmund I. He and Llywelyn ap Merfyn, king of Pows, are killed fighting the English forces.

Hywel Dda, king of Deheubarth, annexes Gwynedd and Powys, to become the sole ruler of most of Wales.

====== Asia ======

Mularaja, founder of the Chaulukya Dynasty, supplants the last Chavda ruler, Samanta-Simha, in Gujarat (modern India). He founds an independent kingdom with his capital in Anahilapataka (approximate date).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Fall – Pope Stephen VIII tries to negotiate a peace that will end the feud between Alberic II, de facto ruler of Rome, and Hugh of Provence (his stepfather) but he dies after a 3-year reign. Stephen is succeeded by Marinus II as the 128th pope of the Catholic Church.

=== 943 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Spring – Allied with the Russians, a Hungarian army raids Moesia and Thrace. Emperor Romanos I buys peace, and accepts to pay a yearly tribute (protection money) to the Hungarians. His frontiers now 'protected' on the Balkan Peninsula, Romanos sends a Byzantine expeditionary force (80,000 men) led by general John Kourkouas (his commander-in-chief) to invade northern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).

====== Europe ======

Caspian expeditions of the Rus': The Russians under the Varangian prince Igor I of Kiev sail up the Kura River, deep into the Caucasus, and defeat the forces of the Sallarid ruler Marzuban ibn Muhammad. They capture the fortress city of Barda (modern Azerbaijan).

Battle of Wels: A joint Bavarian–Carantanian army led by Bertold (duke of Bavaria) defeats the Hungarians near Wels (Upper Austria), who are attacked at a crossing of the Enns River at Ennsburg.

====== England ======

King Edmund I ravages Strathclyde and defeats the Scottish king Constantine II, who has reigned as king of Alba since 900. Constantine, ruler of the 'Picts and Scots', abdicates to enter a monastery and yields control of his realm to his cousin Malcolm I.

The Trinity Bridge at Crowland, Lincolnshire is described, in the 'Charter of Eadred'.

=== 944 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Arab–Byzantine War: Byzantine forces are defeated by Sayf al-Dawla. He captures the city of Aleppo and extends his control over the Al-Jazira–Upper Mesopotamia region. Al-Dawla's rule is recognized by the Ikhshidids. With recovering of Edessa, the Greeks also obtain the fabled Image of Edessa.

August 15 – The "Holy Mandylion" (a cloth with the face of Jesus) is conveyed to Constantinople, where it arrives on the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. A triumphal entry is staged for the relic in the capital.

December 16 – Emperor Romanos I is arrested and deposed after a 14-year reign by his own sons, the co-emperors Stephen and Constantine. He is carried off to the Prince Islands and forced to become a monk.

====== Europe ======

King Hugh of Provence dispatches an embassy to King Otto I of the East Frankish Kingdom, offering a large sum of cash if he promises not to provide assistance to Berengar of Ivrea. Otto refuses this offer.

Raymond III (or Pons I), count of Toulouse, travels to Nevers (southeast of Paris) to declare his fidelity to king Louis IV ("d'Outremer"). He is granted the title 'prince of the Aquitanians' by the king.

====== England ======

King Edmund I regains (with the help of Danish settlers) the territory he ceded to Olaf Guthfrithson. He conquers Northumbria and cedes Cumberland to Malcolm I, king of the 'Picts and Scots'.

A great storm sweeps across Wessex and many houses are destroyed, 1,500 in London alone (a significant proportion of the town).

====== Africa ======

Abu Yazid, a Kharijite Berber leader, launches a rebellion in the Aurès Mountains (modern Algeria) against the Fatamids, seeking aid from the Caliphate of Córdoba in Al-Andalus.

The cities of Algiers and Miliana are re-founded by the Zirid ruler (emir) Buluggin ibn Ziri.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

The Al-Askari Mosque is built in Samarra (modern Iraq).

=== 945 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

January 27 – The co-emperors Stephen and Constantine are overthrown barely a month after deposing their father, Romanos I. With the help of his wife, Constantine VII becomes sole emperor of the Byzantine Empire. He appoints to the highest army commands four members of the Phokas family, which have been in disgrace under Romanos.

Constantine VII concludes a Rus'–Byzantine treaty in which Rus' merchants are to conduct their trade in Constantinople. While many Rus' make their fortunes in trade with the Arab Muslims, the Rurik Dynasty of Kiev grows rich from Byzantine commerce.

====== Europe ======

Spring – Berengar of Ivrea invades Italy with hired Lombard troops and takes up residence in Milan. Berengar proceeds to Verona, where he is joined by forces of Count Milo and other partisans.

King Hugh of Provence lays siege to Vignola to put an end to Berengar's advance. But to no avail, as Berengar of Ivrea is hailed throughout northern Italy as a liberator, and Hugh flees to Provence.

April 13 – Hugh of Provence abdicates the throne in favor of his son Lothair II (who has been co-ruler since 931) and is acclaimed as sole king of Lombardia. Hugh is allowed to retire in Pavia.

Igor I, ruler of the Kievan Rus', is killed while collecting tribute from the Drevlians and is succeeded by his three-year-old son Sviatoslav I. His mother Olga becomes regent and the official ruler.

Summer – King Louis IV ("d'Outremer") is captured by the Normans and handed over to Hugh the Great. In return for the release of Louis, Laon surrenders to him in compensation.

Caliph Abd-al-Rahman III occupies the palace of Medina Azahara (called "the shining city") as the new capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba (modern Spain).

====== England ======

King Edmund I conquers Strathclyde, forms an alliance with Malcolm I (king of the 'Picts and Scots') and cedes Cumberland and Westmorland to him.

King Hywel Dda ("the Good") convenes a conference at Whitland, which draws up a standardized code of laws in Wales (approximate date).

====== Arabian Empire ======

Summer – Sayf al-Dawla is defeated by Muslim forces under Muhammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid near Qinnasrin. He is forced to abandon his Syrian domains and flees to Raqqa. In October the two men come to an agreement, which recognizes Hamdanid rule over northern Syria, founding the Emirate of Aleppo.

Winter – Muslim forces under Nasir al-Dawla capture Baghdad and restore Caliph Al-Muttaqi to power again. Al-Dawla establishes himself as amir al-umara, or de facto regent of the Abbasid Caliphate.

====== China ======

Autumn – The Min Kingdom is destroyed by the Southern Tang. Emperor Yuan Zong expands its domains beyond those of the former Wu Kingdom. He annexes Min territory into its own boundaries.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Dunstan becomes abbot of Glastonbury Abbey in England. He re-creates monastic life by establishing Benedictine monasticism in the monastery.

=== 946 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Summer – King Otto I invades the West Frankish Kingdom with an expeditionary force, but his armies are not strong enough to take the key cities of Laon, Reims and Paris. After three months, Otto ends his campaign without defeating his rival Hugh the Great. He manages to depose Hugh of Vermandois from his position as archbishop of Reims, restoring Artald of Reims to his former office.

====== England ======

May 26 – King Edmund I is murdered at age 25 by an outlawed robber while attending St. Augustine's Day mass in Pucklechurch (Gloucestershire). He is succeeded by his brother Eadred (or Edred) as king of England.

====== Arabian Empire ======

January 28 – Caliph Al-Mustakfi is blinded and deposed by Emir Mu'izz al-Dawla, ruler of the Buyid Empire. He is succeeded by Al-Muti and becomes only a figurehead (with the Buyid Dynasty as dominate rule) of the once-powerful Abbasid Caliphate while he tries to restore peace.

Battle of Baghdad: Along the banks of the Tigris, Buyid forces under Mu'izz al-Dawla defeat the Hamdanids for control of the city. They are forced to pay tax revenues and agree to recognize Al-Muti as the legitimate caliph.

====== Japan ======

May 16 – Emperor Suzaku abdicates the throne after a 16-year reign. He is succeeded by his brother Murakami, who becomes the 62nd emperor of Japan.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Summer – Pope Marinus II dies at Rome after a four-year reign. He is succeeded by Agapetus II and elected with the support of the Roman despot Alberic II. Agapetus is installed as the 129th pope of the Catholic Church.

====== Volcanology ======

Super-colossal (VEI-7) 946 AD Eruption of Paektu Mountain on the modern North Korea-China border.

=== 947 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Summer – A Hungarian army led by Grand Prince Taksony campaigns in Italy, heading southwards on the eastern shore of the peninsula. It besieges Larino and reaches Otranto, plundering Apulia for three months. Berengar of Ivrea negotiates a truce and offers them a massive tribute (for which he imposes a special tax).

Winter – King Otto I cedes the Duchy of Bavaria to his brother Henry I. To secure his rule, Henry is married to Judith, a daughter of Arnulf I ("the Bad"), and appoints a series of counts palatine.

====== England ======

Horsham, a market town on the upper reaches of the Aran River in West Sussex, is first mentioned in 'King Eadred's land charter' (see History of Horsham).

====== Arabian Empire ======

August 19 – Abu Yazid, a Kharijite Berber leader who has led a rebellion against the Fatimid Caliphate in Ifriqiya, is defeated in the Hodna Mountains (modern-day Algeria). Caliph Al-Mansur Billah sets about restoring the Fatimid dominion over North Africa and Sicily.

====== China ======

January 11 – Emperor Tai Zong of the Khitan-led Liao Dynasty invades the Later Jin (Five Dynasties), resulting in the destruction of the Later Jin. Khitan forces head southwards to the Yellow River, but must return to their base in present-day Beijing in May after Tai Zong dies of an illness.

March 10 – The Later Han is founded by Liu Zhiyuan, the military governor (jiedushi) of Bingzhou. He declares himself emperor (formally called Gaozu) and establishes the capital in Bian, present-day Kaifeng.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

Al-Masudi, an Arab historian and geographer, completes his large-scale work The Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems, a historical book about the beginning of the world, starting with Adam and Eve.

=== 948 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Arab–Byzantine War: Hamdanid forces under Sayf al-Dawla raid into Asia Minor. The Byzantines respond with reprisals led by Leo Phokas the Younger, taking captives and razing the walls of Hadath (modern Turkey).

====== Europe ======

Two Hungarian armies invade Bavaria and Carinthia. One of them is defeated at Flozzun in the Nordgau by Henry I, duke of Bavaria.

King Otto I appoints his son Liudolf as duke of Swabia, consolidating Ottonian dominance in Southern Germany.

Sunifred II of Urgell dies without descendants and is succeeded by his nephew Borrell II, count of Barcelona.

====== England ======

King Eadred ravages Northumbria and burns down St. Wilfrid's church at Ripon. On his way home, he sustains heavy losses at Castleford. Eadred manages to check his rivals, and the Northumbrians are forced to pay him compensation.

St. Albans School founded.

====== Africa ======

Spring – Fatimid forces under Al-Hasan ibn Ali al-Kalbi suppress the rebellion in Palermo and swiftly seize the island. Caliph Al-Mansur Billah appoints Ali al-Kalbi as emir of Sicily, beginning the rule of the Kalbid Dynasty.

The Kingdom of Nri (modern Nigeria) is founded by the priest-king Eri (until 1041).

====== China ======

February 12 – King Qian Hongzong is deposed by general Hu Jinsi during a coup. He establishes his younger brother Qian Chu as ruler of Wuyue.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

Minamoto no Kintada, a Japanese official and waka poet, dies. He is a respected nobleman at the imperial court and a member of the Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry.

====== Religion ======

Otto I establishes the missionary dioceses of Brandenburg and Havelberg in the territory of the Marca Geronis (Saxon Eastern March).

The Nallur Kandaswamy temple, one of the most significant Hindu temples in the Jaffna District (modern Sri Lanka), is built.

St Albans School in Hertfordshire is founded by Wulsin, an abbot of St Alban's Abbey, England.

=== 949 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Arab-Byzantine War: Hamdanid forces under Sayf al-Dawla raid into the theme of Lykandos, but are defeated. The Byzantines counter-attack and seize Germanikeia, defeating an army from Tarsus, and raiding as far south as Antioch. General (strategos) Theophilos Kourkouas captures Theodosiopolis (modern-day Erzurum) after a 7-month siege.

====== Europe ======

A Byzantine expeditionary force under Constantine Gongyles attempts to re-conquer the Emirate of Crete from the Saracens. The expedition ends in a disastrous failure, the Byzantine camp is destroyed in a surprise attack. Gongyles himself barely escapes on his flagship.

Abd al-Rahman III the Caliph of Córdoba declares Jihad, preparing a large army & conquers the city of Lugo in the extreme North of Iberia. This raid shows to be one of the furthest raids Muslims in Spain ever conducted, done as a show of strength of the Muslim State in Al-Andalus.

King Miroslav (or Miroslaus) is killed by Ban Pribina during a civil war started by his younger brother Michael Krešimir II, who succeeds him as ruler of Croatia.

Summer – The Hungarians defeat a Bavarian army at Laa (modern Austria).

====== Japan ======

September 14 – Fujiwara no Tadahira, a politician and chancellor (kampaku), dies at his native Kyoto. Having governed Japan as regent under Emperor Suzaku since 930. The Fujiwara clan will continue to hold the regency until 1180, controlling the imperial government.

==== By topic ====


Year 942 (CMXLII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Ganagobie Abbey

Ganagobie Abbey (French: Abbaye Notre-Dame de Ganagobie) is a Benedictine monastery in Ganagobie in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France. It is part of the Solesmes Congregation of the Benedictine Confederation and as such focuses on Gregorian chant.

List of cardinals created between 904–985

List of the cardinals attested in the contemporary sources during the period of pornocracy (904 – 964) and later until the election of Pope John XV in August 985. It certainly contains only small part of all cardinals living at that time because only small number of documents and other accounts useful for the reconstruction of that list have been preserved to our times.

The dates in the parentheses mark the first and last time when the cardinal appears in the sources.

List of popes by country

This page is a list of popes by country of origin. They are listed in chronological order within each section.

As the office of pope has existed for almost two millennia, many of the countries of origin of popes no longer exist, and so they are grouped under their modern equivalents. Popes from Italy are in a separate section, given the very large number of popes from that peninsula.

Pope Leo VII

Pope Leo VII (Latin: Leo VII; d. 13 July 939) was Pope from 3 January 936 to his death in 939. He was preceded by Pope John XI and followed by Pope Stephen VIII. Leo VII's election to the papacy was secured by Alberic II of Spoleto, the ruler of Rome at the time. Alberic wanted to choose the pope so that the papacy would continue to yield to his authority. Leo was the priest of the church of St. Sixtus in Rome, thought to be a Benedictine monk. He had little ambition towards the papacy, but consented under pressure.

As pope, Leo VII reigned for only three years. Most of his bulls were grants of privilege to monasteries, especially including the Abbey of Cluny. "Pope Leo VII"] Leo called for Odo of Cluny to mediate between Alberic and Hugh of Italy, Alberic's stepfather, the King of Italy. Odo was successful in negotiating a truce after arranging a marriage between Hugh's daughter Alda and Alberic. Leo VII also appointed Frederick, Archbishop of Mainz, as a reformer in Germany. Leo allowed Frederick to drive out Jews that refused to be baptized, but he did not endorse the forced baptism of Jews.After his death in July 939, Leo VII was interred at St. Peter's Basilica.

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 1057–1058

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.


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]);

Estêvão (Portuguese);

Esteve (Catalan);

Estève (Occitan);

Étienne (French);

Istifanus (Arabic);

István (Hungarian);

Setefane (Sotho);

Shtjefni (Albanian);

Sītífán (Mandarin Chinese);

Stefan (German, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Serbian; German pronunciation: [ˈʃteːfan]);

Stefán (Icelandic);

Степан/Stepan (Russian, Ukrainian);

Ștefan (Romanian);

Štefan (Slovak and Slovenian);

Stefana (Malagasy);

Stefano (Italian and Swahili);

Stefanos (modern Greek, modern Hebrew, and Estonian);

Stefans (Latvian and


Steffan (Welsh);

Stepan (Armenian);

Štěpán (Czech);

Stepane (Georgian);

Steponas (Lithuanian);

Stiofán (Irish);

Sutepano (Japanese);

Szczepan (Polish); and

Tapani (Finnish).

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.

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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