#99 - Pope Eugene II
Pope from May 11, 824 - August 27, 827
Died: August 27, 827
Give me the scoop on Eugene II.
A Roman by birth, Eugene was the archpriest (pastor, basically) of the Church of St. Sabina in Rome prior to being elected. He took office on May 11, 824, having been the choice of the Roman nobility (more on that in a minute). Eugene, who had been well-educated, convened a council of 62 bishops in 826 to decide matters of discipline for bishops and priests. Of the 38 canons it produced, among them were the demand that “ignorant bishops and priests be suspended till they had acquired sufficient learning to perform their sacred duties,” and also that at least one priest with advanced education be placed in each region’s major churches, to ensure that both laypeople and clergy would be properly catechized in the faith. Eugene died on August 27, 827 and was presumably buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.
What was he known for?
The four popes before Eugene II told a story of the back-and-forth battle between the Roman aristocrats -- essentially the secular leadership -- and the Roman clergy -- normally of lower social stature but bearing more sanctity and education in the faith. Though the Church was blessed with four fairly decent popes prior to Eugene’s papacy (two of whom were saints, no less), his came as a result of the aristocracy strong-arming their way into electing who they wanted. No bueno for the Roman clergy.
The fallout from the decision included, with Eugene’s support, rolling back the way popes were selected and allowing laypeople some participation in it, which likely was a move to make sure the Roman nobility could get their way. A rule was also made that a representative of the emperor be present at future elections, as well. Despite Eugene’s orthodoxy in matters of faith, and even considering that not all his administrative reforms were bad for business, he’s by no means known as an all-star pope.
It may or may not be a coincidence that the name of Eugene II, who was brought up in Rome’s high society, means “well-born.”
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In 827, the Saracens apparently introduced spinach to the Western world, after originally finding the plant in modern-day Iran. Popeye is eternally grateful.
Coming Tomorrow...Pope Valentine
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Pope Eugene II -
Pope Eugene II -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 2:00AM