#131 - Pope Leo VIII
Pope from June 23, 964 - March 1, 965
Died: March 1, 965
Give me the scoop on Leo VIII.
Leo was a layman and a member of the Church’s civil service -- a notary, to be precise -- before becoming pope. He had gotten to know the emperor, Otto I, when helping out in negotiations between German and papal courts, and it was this relationship, as you’ll read in a second, directly contributed to him being picked to succeed John XII. While pope, it’s generally thought that Leo reigned over a time of relative peace, although no specific facts are known about his time in office. Leo VIII died March 1, 965.
What was he known for?
Leo VIII was best known for being right in the middle of a rather contentious struggle over who was rightful pope. When Otto had John XII deposed for
a laundry list of unsavory deeds
, Leo VIII was chosen to succeed him. The problem, however, was that John XII refused to comply with the deposition, and thus remained rightful pope until his death in 964. Leo was put in place in December of 963, so he technically was an antipope for the months John was imprisoned, at least until John stormed back to Rome and forcibly removed him.
The pope soon died, which allowed Leo to take the Chair -- rightfully this time -- once again. However, supporters of John weren’t fans of Leo, and instead picked Benedict V to be pope. Not only was this a canonical no-no, but Otto, upon hearing, rushed back to Rome and came to Leo’s aid. Since history considers Leo a legitimate pope, it’s widely thought that Benedict
to his own removal and demotion.
This particular period of papal uncertainty, where both Leo and Benedict claimed the papal throne illegally at first, marks the only time in Church history where two consecutive antipopes actually became legitimate successors of St. Peter immediately after having usurped their predecessor.
Coming tomorrow...Pope Benedict V
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 Leo VIII -
Pope Leo VIII -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 2:00AM