#134 - Pope Benedict VI
Pope from January 19, 973 - June 974
Died: June 974
Give me the scoop on Benedict VI.
Some time passed before a replacement was found for Pope John XIII, which historians guess was a result of the Roman nobility and the German court of Emperor Otto I fighting over who the nominee should be. In the end, Otto’s side won out as Benedict VI, a native Roman, was chosen. Prior to being pope, Benedict served as cardinal-deacon of the Church of St. Theodore in Rome. Little is known about his pontificate, and he died less than 18 months into his reign.
What was he known for?
Benedict VI is known for having been the target of a cruel act of revenge, which ended up taking his life. Emperor Otto died in May 973, leaving his 19-year-old son, Otto II, to lead the empire in his place. The petty Roman nobility, taking advantage of the preoccupied and perhaps overwhelmed young emperor, staged an uprising in Rome, imprisoned Pope Benedict VI, and attempted to replace him with an antipope, a deacon named Franco (aka “Boniface VII”). After hearing about this, Otto II sent a representative to have Benedict released, but he was too late. The pope was strangled to death in his cell after less than two months in prison.
Because Benedict VI was followed immediately by Benedict VII, they became the fourth pair of consecutive successors of Peter to bear the same name. It’s happened 11 times in papal history, the most recent of which was John Paul I and St. John Paul II.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
St. Ulrich, the archbishop of Augsburg in Germany, died July 4, 973 at the age of 83. In addition to being a holy man, St. Ulrich is unique in that he was one of the first saints to be officially canonized by a pope. Saints, up to that point, were simply venerated by public acclaim. Pope John XV, however, began the tradition that led to our modern-day canonization process, giving Ulrich the halo 20 years after his death. St. Ulrich is the patron saint of pregnant women and easy births.
Coming Tomorrow...Pope Benedict VII
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Pope Benedict VI -
Pope Benedict VI -
St. Ulrich of Augsburg -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 at 2:00AM