Benedict III of Rome

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Pope Benedict III of Rome was the Pope of the Church of Rome from 855 to 858.


Little is known of the early life of Pope Benedict. His father was named Peter. He was educated and lived in Rome and had a reputation for learning and piety. He was a cardinal priest of the Church of San Callisto prior to his election to the papacy of Rome.[1] He was elected as a second choice of the clergy and people after their first choice, Hadrian, refused the position. After his election in July 855 envoys were sent to secure the ratification of the election by the Emperors Lothar and Louis II. However, a group favoring Cardinal Anastasius, who was ambitious and had been excommunicated, made the case to have Benedict's election disavowed and have Anastasius confirmed and installed. Benedict was then imprisoned, but popular opinion was so strong that Benedict's consecration as pope was allowed on September 29, 855, although, under pressure from the envoys of Holy Roman Emperor Louis II, Benedict admitted Anastasius to lay communion even though he had been condemned by a synod. These events did have the result of weakening the hold of the emperors upon the popes, especially upon their elections.

Benedict was visited by the Anglo-Saxon King Ethelwulf with his son Alfred. He, also, completed the restoration of the Schola Anglorum that had been destroyed by fire in 847. He continued the work of repairing the damage done to the churches in Rome by the Saracen attack of 846. Benedict died April 17, 858 and was buried near the principal gate of St. Peter's Basilica.


  1. J. N. D. Kelly, "Benedict III" in The Oxford Dictionary of Popes, (2006).
Succession box:
Benedict III of Rome
Preceded by:
Leo IV
Pope of Rome
Succeeded by:
Nicholas I
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