#135 - Pope Benedict VII
Pope from October 974 - July 10, 983
Died: July 10, 983
Give me the scoop on Benedict VII.
Though his year of birth is unknown, Benedict was a native Roman, and a member of the noble family of the Counts of Tusculum. Benedict was likely a compromise candidate, supported by both the emperor and the Roman nobility after Franco -- known to us as Antipope Boniface VII -- usurped the previous pontiff. After Boniface was excommunicated and banished, Benedict took office in October 974 and reigned over a surprising time of political peace in Rome. Maybe the pot-stirrers took a vacation. Though he reigned as pope for almost nine years, surprisingly little is known about his papacy. Benedict died July 10, 983.
What was he known for?
Pope Benedict VII was a strong champion of monasticism and the reform of the Church. The movement, which had started years earlier to give monasteries a good dusting, continued to grow under St. Mayeul, Abbot of Cluny. What began as an effort to purge monasticism of ambitious clerics and laypeople began to work its way through the Church at large. The movement even reached the pope and the emperor themselves, as both worked to help rid abuses of power from the lowest to the highest levels.
In 975, Benedict VII made history by naming Archbishop Dietrich of Trier (Germany) to the titular Church of The Four Crowned Martyrs (
Santi Quattro Coronati
). The tradition of cardinals being assigned to a church in Rome, which continues to this day, until then had only applied to native Romans or residents of the city. Dietrich, as a result, is known as the first non-Roman, non-resident cardinal to be assigned a Roman
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In 975, King Edward the Martyr of England is crowned king. Edward, regarded as a saint from the time of his death, wasn’t his father’s acknowledged heir, but had the support of two of England’s archbishops, St. Dunstan and Oswald of Worcester, who ultimately made him king. This sparked the rage of his brother, Aethelred the Unready (that’s one bummer of a name), and may well have been the reason for his murder just three years later.
Coming Tomorrow...Pope John XIV
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 Benedict VII -
Pope Benedict VII -
Edward the Martyr -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at 2:00AM