#119 - Pope Sergius III
Pope from January 29, 904 - April 14, 911
Died: April 14, 911
Give me the scoop on Sergius III.
Sergius III was a native of Rome, and a prominent member of the party opposed to the late Pope Formosus. Sergius served as bishop of Caere (a city 30-40 miles northwest of Rome) after being consecrated by Pope Formosus in the late 800s. This point proved important, since Sergius declared all of Formosus’ appointments null and void once he was chosen as pope. The rule that bishops could not transfer dioceses to become pope had been reinforced once again, so Sergius needed a way out. Not the most intelligent or discerning of popes, Sergius then practically spat on the findings of past popes who restored Formosus’ name after the Cadaver Synod.
Being in league with Theophylact, the Roman senator, and his wife, Theodora, Sergius III may have fathered an illegitimate child with their daughter, Marouzia. That son, interestingly enough, would become pope himself in 931, and is known to us as John XI. Sergius died April 15, 911 and is buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.
What was he known for?
Sergius III was best known for being a man of ambition -- just not the good kind. Six years before becoming legitimate pope, Sergius tried (unsuccessfully) to snatch the papacy from Pope John IX. Then, as part of the circumstances from which he found himself validly in office, he booted Antipope Christopher out, threw him in the very prison where Leo V (the rightful pope) was being kept, and likely put both of them to death. A bastion of compassion, that Sergius.
One of the good things Sergius III did during his papacy was completely restore the Lateran Basilica in Rome, which had fallen into disrepair.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
were living and working for good in the Church at that time, despite Sergius’ escapades. You might recognize one in particular -- St. Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia, better known as “Good King Wenceslaus,” was born in 907.
Coming Tomorrow...Pope Anastasius III
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Guruge, A. (2010). The Next Pope. New Hampshire: WOWNH
Pope Sergius III -
Pope Sergius III -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 2:00AM