#153 - Pope Victor II
Pope from April 13, 1055 - July 28, 1057
Lived: c. 1018 - July 28, 1057
Birth name: Gebhard Graf von Calw
Give me the scoop on Victor II.
Born Gebhard Graf von Calw, Pope Victor II was nominated by Hildebrand, one of Pope St. Leo IX’s right-hand men, to succeed the saintly pontiff after his death. Prior to his election, Victor served as Bishop of Eichstätt, having been placed there at the young age of 24, and proved to be a noble bishop and savvy diplomat. He took the throne on April 13, 1055, after which he followed closely in the footsteps of Leo, condemning simony and the keeping of concubines, as well as forbidding the clergy to marry. He took additional measures against these offenses by appointing like-minded bishops to troubled dioceses, and by sending Hildebrand back to France to continue his efforts there.
Victor served just 27 months as pope, dying July 28, 1057 after returning from a visit to Germany. Originally meant to have been buried at Eichstätt, in Germany, his remains were seized by residents of Ravenna before getting there. As a result, he ended up interred at the Church of Santa Maria Rotondo, the same place as
Theodoric the Great
What was he known for?
Pope Victor II found himself thrust into a uniquely powerful role after the sudden death of Emperor Henry III. Henry’s only heir, Henry IV, was just a tyke at five years old, which left the empress, Agnes, in charge of the empire. Because of his close friendship with the emperor, Victor became a sort of guardian to the young Henry, and actually enthroned him to make sure the imperial succession stayed intact. No word on if they put a rattle inside the imperial
. Because Agnes had little interest to run the show, and Henry was much too young, Victor, for a time, became both the spiritual and temporal ruler of the empire.
Victor II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI have something unique in common. Nine popes from Germany have held the Chair of Peter throughout papal history, but only three were actually born within the boundaries of modern-day Germany: Victor, Benedict XVI, and Pope Clement II (1046-1047).
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In the year 1055, the first recorded words of the Hungarian language were written down in the Tihany Abbey’s foundation charter. The abbey, which still stands today, was founded by King Andrew I and would be his final resting place just five years later.
Coming Tomorrow...Pope Stephen IX
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 Victor II -
Pope Victor II -
Tihany Abbey -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 2:00AM