#149 - Pope Clement II
Pope from December 25, 1046 - October 9, 1047
Died: October 9, 1047
Birth name: Suidger von Morsleben
Give me the scoop on Clement II.
The future pope Clement II, born Suidger von Morsleben, was a German bishop before becoming pope, having served the Diocese of Bamberg since 1040. He road-tripped to Rome with Emperor Henry III to attend the Council of Sutri, where the emperor would finally sort out the bizarre situation happening in the Eternal City. The three major basilicas in Rome -- St. Peter’s, the Lateran, and St. Mary Major -- were each occupied by a claimant to the Chair of Peter: Sylvester III, Benedict IX, and Gregory VI (the rightful pope). Henry was able to sort the affair out by Christmas, after which he chose and consecrated Bishop Suidger as Pope Clement II in St. Peter’s Basilica. Clement proved to be a solid, well-respected choice.
In office less than 10 months, Clement died on his way back to Rome from Germany. He had ventured there with Henry III to canonize St. Wiborada, a nun who had been martyred by the Huns in 925. A mid-20th Century toxicology report on Clement’s remains showed that he died of poisoning by lead sugar, though it’s unknown whether the poison was intentional (at the hands of Benedict IX’s men) or accidental.
What was he known for?
Pope Clement II continued the valuable work of reform in the Church by passing two heavy-handed rules at a January 1047 council. The first was an automatic excommunication for anyone who bought or sold spiritual goods or offices. The second? A mandatory 40-day canonical penance for any cleric who was knowingly ordained by a bishop convicted of simony. Sackcloth and ashes sold separately.
Pope Clement II is the only pope to be buried north of the Alps. Wanting his relics brought to his home diocese, which he called his “sweetest bride,” Clement was interred in Bamberg at its great cathedral, where his relics can still be venerated today. The full set of vestments in which he was buried, which were removed and restored in the 1940s,
are on display
in Bamberg’s diocesan museum.
Coming Monday...Pope Damasus II
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Pope Clement II -
Pope Clement II -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Friday, July 21, 2017 at 2:00AM