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Popes of the 9th Century, Part 1

History of the Roman Catholic Papacy and Church

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Below is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the ninth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the starting and ending dates of their reigns, and finally the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read short biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Roman Catholic Church.

 

97. St. Leo III: December 26, 795 - June 12, 816 (20 years)
Leo III has been known to history as "Charlemagne's Pope." He came from the lower classes and, as a result, the aristocrats who formed the bulk of the Vatican hierarchy always resented him.

98. Stephen V (IV): June 22, 816 - January 24, 817 (7 months)
Church and state were further intertwined during the reign of Stephen V, the first pope to ever anoint an emperor: Louis the Pious.

99. St. Paschal I: January 24, 815 - February 11, 824
Paschal I chief concern as pope was the relationship between the Church and Charlemagne's son and successor, Louis I the Pious. Louis was a very busy ruler, both working to expand the empire and to reform and better organize the Church.

100. Eugene II: June, 824 - August, 827 (3 years)
Pope Eugene II was, probably more than any other pope before him, under the control of the Western Roman Emperor. Eugene even went so far as to swear an oath of allegiance to emperor Louis and agree that all future popes should do the same.

101. Valentine: August, 827 - September, 827 (less than 1 month)
Pope Valentine reigned for less than a month and, as a consequence, didn't do anything of consequence.

102. Gregory IV: 827 - January 25, 844 (16 years)
Gregory IV was elected largely through the support of the Roman nobility and the Western emperor, upon whom Gregory would remain very dependent throughout his papacy.

103. Sergius II: January, 844 - January 27, 847 (3 years)
Sergius II encountered early opposition from Emperor Lothair, but through smooth diplomatic handing he was able to crown Lothair without also being forced to swear fealty to him.

104. St. Leo IV: April 10, 847 - July 10, 855 (8 years)
Pope Leo IV was embattled politically on both sides. Like his predecessor, Pope Sergius II, he was under pressure from king Lothair to be submissive to the political leadership in the north - but also like Sergius, Leo was determined to assert papal independence, starting immediately by not seeking Lothair's approval to be consecrated pope.

105. Benedict III: September 29, 855 - April 17, 858 (2 years)
Pope Benedict III, like his predecessors Leo IV and Sergius II, was almost immediately embroiled in conflict with king Lothair who insisted on retaining the right to give approval to the election of any new pope; also like his predecessors, Benedict was determined to assert the independence of the papacy and deny Lothair that right.

106. St. Nicholas I (the Great): April 24, 858 - November 13, 867 (9 years)
Pope Nicholas I expended a lot of effort to assert the authority and primacy of the bishop of Rome, even going so far as to deposing two archbishops over a conflict of policy.

107. Adrian II: December 14, 867 - November/December 872 (4 years, 11 months)
Adrian II is generally considered to have been a very weak pope, throwing away many of the political gains achieved by his predecessors.

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