POPES

Pope John XIX: The Originator of Indulgences

Romanus of Tusculum was the brother of Pope Benedict VIII. While his brother was on the throne of Peter, Romanus, a layman, was both counsel and senator of Rome, wielding much power. When Benedict died in April 1024, Romanus may have paid his way onto the empty...
Pope Benedict VIII: The First Tusculum Pope

Pope Benedict VIII: The First Tusculum Pope

This, in some ways is the story of two families who used to be close, but over the generations, grew to hate each other. You may remember Theophylact, the Roman dictator, who married Theodora, a member of the Crescenti family. Their daughter, Marozia, became a...

Pope Sergius IV: The Last of the Crescenti Popes

Sergius is the pope who made the taking of another name common among popes. He was born Peter, son of Peter the Shoemaker and his spouse Stephanie. Apparently, he was referred to as Peter Pig Snout. Young Peter was born around 970 and grew up in the Pina area of Rome,...

POPE JOHN XVIII: THE SECOND ABDICATION

Giovanni Fasano was born into a priest’s family in Rome in the mid-900s. It was a time of extreme control of the Catholic Church by politicians, especially the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy. John XVII died and Fasano, the pastor of St....

POPE SYLVESTER II: THE FIRST FRENCH POPE

You may recognize Sylvester II under his given name, Gerbert of Auxillac, the phenomenal scholar of the early Middle Ages. Gerbert was born around 946 in Bellise, south central France. At around 17 years of age, he entered the Monastery of St. Gerald of Auxillac to...

POPE GREGORY V: THE FIRST GERMAN POPE

Bruno of Carinthia was born around 970-972 in Stainach, Duchy of Carinthia. This is in the southern part of what is, today, Austria, not too far from the Italian border. It is at the eastern end of the Alps. It was part of the Holy Roman Empire. His father was Otto I...