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Encyclopedia > Pope Sergius III

Pope Sergius III, scion of Benedictus, of a noble Roman family, reigned in two intervals between 897 and April 14, 911, during a period of feudal violence and disorder in central Italy, where the Papacy was a pawn of warring aristocratic factions. It was also the dawn of an age of powerful women. The pontificate of Sergius III, so far as is known through the Liber pontificalis and a partisan and spiteful later chronicler, Liutprand of Cremona, was remarkable for the rise of the "pornocracy," or rule of the harlots, as papal chroniclers dubbed the reversal of the natural order as they saw it, with women in power: Theodora, whom Liutprand revealingly characterized as a "shameless whore..[who] exercised power on the Roman citizenry like a man" and her daughter Marozia, the mother of Pope John XI and reputed to be the mistress of Sergius III, largely upon a remark by Liutprand (see Brook link below). Events January - the Cadaver Synod July/August- Pope Stephen VII dies and is succeeded by Pope Romanus. ... April 14 is the 104th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (105th in leap years). ... This article is about the year 911 A.D. For other uses, see 911 (disambiguation). ... Defining feudalism is difficult because there is no generally accepted agreement on what it means. ... The Pope is the Catholic Bishop and patriarch of Rome, and head of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches. ... The Book of the Popes or the Liber Pontificalis is a major source for early medieval history but was also met with intense critical scrutiny. ... Liutprand (Liudprand, Luitprand) (c. ... Pornocracy is a term that has been used to mean government by or domination of government by prostitutes. ... Theodora was a senatrix of Rome, mother of Marozia, and concubine to Pope Sergius III, whose pontificate, so far as is known, was remarkable for nothing but the rise of the pornocracy of Theodora and her daughters, a period also called the Rule of the Harlots. ... Marozia also known as Mariuccia, given the unprecedented titles senatrix (senatoress) and patricia of Rome by Pope John X, was born about 890, and died, imprisoned by her son Alberic II, duke of Spoleto, between 932 and 937. ... John XI (910?–936) was a pope from 931 to 936. ...

Sergius owed his rise to the power of his patron, the military commander Theophylact, Count of Tusculum who held the position of vestarius in control of the disbursements at the top of papal patronage. He and his party opposed Pope Formosus, who ordained Sergius bishop of Caere (Cerveteri)— in order to remove him from Rome, as an unsympathetic source records. He was his faction's unsuccessful candidate for the papacy in 896; when John IX was elected instead, he excommunicated Sergius, who had to withdraw from his see at Cerveteri for safety. Elected Pope in 897, Sergius was forcibly exiled by Lambert, duke of Spoleto, and all the official records were destroyed; consequently most of the surviving documentation about Sergius comes from his opponents. In the early 10th century, Theophylact, Count of Tusculum and his beautiful and unscrupulous wife, Theodora controlled the city of Rome and the Papacy. ... Jean-Paul Laurens, Le Pape Formose et Etienne VII (1870). ... A small town located approximately 60 miles N of Rome. ... Events The Bulgarians, under Simeon I, defeat the Byzantine Empire at Bulgarophygon. ... John IX, pope from 898 to 900, not only confirmed the judgment of his predecessor Theodore II in granting Christian burial to Formosus, but at a council held at Ravenna decreed that the records of the synod which had condemned him should be burned. ... Excommunication is a religious censure which is used to deprive or suspend membership in a religious community. ... Lambert of Spoleto (?–October 15, 898) was a Duke of Spoleto (as Lambert II, 894–898), King of Italy (892–898) and Emperor (894-898). ... The independent Duchy of Spoleto in southern Italy was a Lombard territory founded about 570 by a Lombard dux Faroald. ...

When the (anti)pope Christopher seized the seat of St. Peter by force, the Theophylact faction of Romans revolted and ejected him in 903/4. They then invited Sergius to come out of retirement. His return is marked as January 29, 904. Christopher reigned as pope from 903 to 904. ... January 29 is the 29th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Events Accession of Sergius III Destruction of Changan, the capital of Tang Dynasty and the largest city in the ancient world. ...

Back in power, Sergius now in his turn annulled all the ordinations of Formosus, and demanded all bishops ordained by Formosus be re-ordained, an unwelcomed decision reversed again after his death. His nemeses, Pope Leo V and the antipope Christopher, both died in 904, alleged to have been strangled in prison, a claim, however, that the Catholic Encyclopedia called "extremely doubtful." Sergius allegedly honoured Pope Stephen VII who had been responsible for the infamous "Cadaver Synod" that had condemned and mutilated the corpse of Pope Formosus, by expanding on the mutilation. Sergius reportedly had the much-abused corpse of Formosus exhumed once more, tried and found guilty again, and beheaded. He even went so far as to place a laudatory remark on Stephen VII's tombstone. A bishop is an ordained member of the Christian clergy who, in certain Christian churches, holds a position of authority. ... Leo V, a native of Ardea, was pope for some thirty days in 903 after the death of Benedict IV. He was succeeded by Christopher. ... Events Accession of Sergius III Destruction of Changan, the capital of Tang Dynasty and the largest city in the ancient world. ... Stephen VII, was Pope from May 896 to July or August 897. ... Jean-Paul Laurens, Le Pape Formose et Etienne VII (Pope Formosus and Stephen VII), 1870. ... Jean-Paul Laurens, Le Pape Formose et Etienne VII (1870). ...

Sergius restored the Lateran Palace, which had been shattered by an earthquake in 896. He is the first pope to be pictured wearing the triple-crowned Papal tiara. Late Baroque façade of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, completed after a competition for the design by Alessandro Galilei in 1735 Lateran and Laterano are the shared names of several architectural projects throughout Rome and Vatican City. ... Events The Bulgarians, under Simeon I, defeat the Byzantine Empire at Bulgarophygon. ... The Papal Tiara, also known as the Triple Tiara, in Latin as the Triregnum, or in Italian as the Triregno,[1] is the three-tiered jewelled papal crown of Byzantine and Persian origin that is the symbol of the papacy. ...

External links

  • Catholic Forum.com: Pope Sergius III
  • Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Sergius III
  • Societas Christianae Encyclopedia: The "Pornocracy"
  • Lindsay Brook, "Popes and pornocrats: Rome in the Early Middle Ages" offers some more specific documentation

Preceded by:
Succeeded by:
Anastasius III

Christopher reigned as pope from 903 to 904. ... For a graphical representation of this list, see list of popes (graphical). ... Anastasius III, pope from 911-913, was a Roman by birth. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Sergius III - LoveToKnow 1911 (188 words)
SERGIUS III., elected pope by one of the factions in Rome in 898, simultaneously with John IX., was expelled from the city by his adversaries.
Sergius is reputed to have been the lover of Theodora's daughter Marozia, by whom he is said to have had a son, who became pope as John XI.
and his successors, Sergius was very hostile to the memory of Pope Formosus, and refused to recognize any of the ordinations celebrated by him, thus causing grave disorders.
Sergius III (822 words)
Be that as it may, his history of Sergius is extremely colorful, alleging that he murdered two men, including one of his papal predecessors, and fathered Pope John XI with his mistress, Marozia, who later became a Roman power broker in her own right.
The reign of Sergius marked the beginning of Rome's first "pornocracy", so named because Sergius and several popes after him were believed to be puppets under the control of a female Roman senator named Theodora, and her daughter, Marozia.
Theologically, Sergius did little to distinguish himself, although he was said to be a proponent of the filioque, an incredibly arcane doctrine which nails down the metaphysical mechanics of exactly how the Holy Ghost "proceeds" from the Father and the Son in the Trinity.
  More results at FactBites »



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