#142 - Pope Sergius IV
Pope from July 31, 1009 - May 12, 1012
Died: May 12, 1012
Birth name: Pietro Martino Buccaporci
Give me the scoop on Sergius IV.
Pope Sergius IV was born Pietro Martino Buccaporci, which translates from the Italian as “Peter Martin Pig’s Snout.” No wonder he changed his name. Prior to being picked by John Crescentius (Rome’s ruler at the time), Sergius was a cardinal and Bishop of Albano in Italy, having been consecrated in 1004 by Pope John XVIII. He was elevated to the papacy by Crescentius at the end of July 1009, though he held little real power -- like his two predecessors -- for his nearly three years in office. Sergius was known to be a patron of the poor, and was even venerated as a saint by some after his death. He may have been murdered, considering he and Crescentius died within a week of one another. Sergius IV was buried in the Lateran Basilica in Rome.
What was he known for?
An act by Sergius IV may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back in the centuries-long disagreement between the Eastern and Western Churches. Sticking with custom, Sergius IV sent a letter to Constantinople after his election containing his profession of faith. In his text of the Creed, Sergius included the ever-so-controversial
(Latin for “and the Son”) clause, which made the Patriarch of Constantinople none too pleased.
Remember: Centuries earlier, the West had added the
to the part of the Nicene Creed that addresses the Holy Spirit, but the East didn’t. By this point, many in the East thought the West was not only being improper in its usage, but was being downright unorthodox. The Patriarch of Constantinople, thinking Sergius IV was throwing shade, excommunicated the pope, refused to recognize him, and in effect started the East/West Schism that’s commonly attributed to 1054. Well that escalated quickly.
Sergius IV was the fourth and final pope to bear that name. He was also the only one of the four Popes Sergius to have chosen the name for himself, as opposed to being born with it.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
Around the year 1010, the famous English poem
was written anonymously.
Coming Tomorrow...Pope Benedict VIII
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
Chronology of the Great Schism -
Pope Sergius IV -
Pope Sergius IV -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 2:00AM