Popes in a Year
#109 - Pope St. Adrian III
Pope from May 17, 884 - July 8, 885
Died: July 8, 885
aka Hadrian III
Give me the scoop on Adrian III.
A Roman by birth, the rest of Adrian’s life prior to being pope is lost to history. He took office May 17, 884 and reigned for barely 13 months. The Holy Roman Empire during this time had fallen to Emperor Charles the Fat, after numerous ruling family members died and left their territories to him. Since Charles had no legitimate heirs, he convened a meeting to discuss imperial succession, as well as the growing power of the Saracens, and said “Yo, Adrian. You need to be here.” The meeting, known as the Imperial Diet (the irony), was held at Worms (pronounced
) in Germany, but the pope never made it. He died en route, on July 8, 885, and was buried in the Nonantola Abbey near Modena.
What was he known for?
Though little is known about St. Adrian III’s brief time as pope, it’s clear that he brought the papacy back in line with the policies of John VIII, particularly when it came to disciplining the Roman nobility. The nobility seemed to stop at nothing to advance themselves at the expense of all else, which made the situation in Rome very dire. It was so bad, in fact, that Pope Adrian, a very holy man, was forced to consider unusual punishments for scheming nobles when nothing else worked. For example, one man, John VIII’s sworn enemy, George of Aventine, was tried, condemned, and blinded for his intrigues.
Unlike most early popes, Adrian III wasn’t recognized as a saint for more than 1,000 years. He was canonized by Pope Leo XIII on June 2, 1891 and his feast day is July 8.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In 885, the Vikings began their siege of Paris and continued it through the summer of 886, when the imperial army arrived and forced a retreat.
Coming tomorrow...Pope Stephen V
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
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Pope Adrian III -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Thursday, June 1 at 2:00AM