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Sergius II of Rome

Pope Sergius II of Rome was the Pope of the Church of Rome from 844 to 847. After the Saracen attacks of 846 he was accused of failing to provide protection for Rome.


The date of Pope Sergius' birth is unknown. He was born into a noble family and educated at the Schola Cantorum. He was ordained a cardinal-priest of the Church of Ss. Martin and Sylvester by Pope Paschal and became an archpriest under Pope Gregory IV. While Sergius was favored by the Roman royalty to succeed Gregory, the populace enthroned the deacon John, who occupied the Lateran Palace for a short time before he was imprisoned in a monastery. Sergius was consecrated Pope of Rome in January 844 without seeking the ratification of the Frankish emperor Lothar I. Lothar, thus, sent his son Louis II, recently appointed Viceroy of Italy, with an army to punish the breach of the Roman Constitution of 824 that included a statute that no pope should be consecrated until his election had the approval of the Frankish emperor.

The Church and the emperor reached an accommodation in which Sergius agreed that no one could become pope without imperial consent and Louis would not attack Rome. However, Sergius rejected the Roman swearing of fealty to Louis as proposed by Bishop Drogo of Metz and arranging, instead, an oath of allegiance to Lothar. On June 15, 844, Sergius crowned Louis king of the Lombards, and Bp. Drogo was made Sergius' legate to the Frankish kingdoms.

Owing partly to attacks of gout, Sergius delegated most of the papal business to his brother, Bishop Benedict of Albano, who dominated the pontificate. However, Benedict was opportunistic and usurped power and finagled money while engaged in a major building program that included enlarging the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

During the latter part of his pontificate, Sergius witnessed the assault in August 846 on Porto and Ostia and the ravaging of Rome outside the Aurelian walls by Saracens, as the Basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul Outside the Walls were pillaged.

Pope Sergius died on January 24, 847 while he was engaged in mediating a dispute between the Italian patriarchs of Aquileia and Grado. He was buried in the Basilica of St. Peter

Succession box:
Sergius II of Rome
Preceded by:
Gregory IV
Pope of Rome
Succeeded by:
Leo IV
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