Papacy - A Historical Perspective
Gregory IV : 827-844 A.D.
101. Born in Rome. Elected September 20, 827 - Died January 11, 844.
He set up a strong army, which was
commanded by the Earl of
Tuscany and defeated the Saracens five times in Africa.
The Saracens, who had landed in Italy, destroyed Civitavecchia
and Ostia and threatened Rome.
In 834 he promulgated in Western Europe the feast of All
Saints to be celebrated on the first day of November, which was
introduced in Rome by St. Boniface IV.
He ordered that each church had to have its own entrance
and every priest had to abandon any other indecent occupation.
He is buried in the Vatican Grottoes. His pontificate lasted 16
Sergius II : 844-847 A.D.
102. Born in Rome. Elected January 844 - died January 27, 847.
During his pontificate, the Saracens
where they sacked St. Paul's and other churches.
The Turks were definitively defeated in Gaeta.
He restored the staircase of the Pretorium (Holy Stairs) in
Jerusalem, which as you may know was brought to Rome by St. Helen,
He is buried in the Vatican Grottoes. His pontificate lasted about
St. Leo IV : 847-855 A.D.
103. Born in Rome. Elected April 10, 847 - died July 17, 855.
He was the first pope to write the
date on official
documents. He granted the Venetians the right to elect a Doge. He
ordered the building of the walls surrounding the Leonine City
and the Vatican hill.
These walls, made of tufa and bricks, were up to 20 meters high:
they had 24 towers like the one you can see on the Vatican hill.
He ordered that the cardinals had to go twice a week to the
Apostolic Palace to discuss Church matters; this was considered the
first example of Congregation.
Through one of his orders, Leo IV introduced the aspersion, a
rite which consists in sprinkling holy water on the faithful and on
the works during the Sunday Mass etc. As a symbol of purification and
He is buried in the Basilica of St. Peter, in the Cappella della
Colonna. His pontificate lasted 8 years and 3 months.
Benedict III : 855-858 A.D.
104. Born in Rome. Elected September 28, 855 - died April 17, 858.
He was beloved by the people for his
virtues but was firmly opposed by
the Emperor and the Anti-pope Anastasius, whose pontificate lasted 1
He tried to gather all factions in the fight against the Saracens.
He reluctantly accepted the pontificate and fasted three days
before accepting the papal dignity.
During his pontificate a pestilence rode out in Rome, which
occluded one's throat with fluxion, causing the prompt death of people
of any age and class.
His buried in the Vatican Grottoes. His pontificate lasted about 2
years and a half.
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