Agapetus II, Pope

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AGAPETUS II, POPE

Pontificate: May 10, 946 to December 955; b. Rome. He was lauded in contemporary sources as "sanctissimus" and as a man "of wondrous sanctity." Interested in monastic reform, Agapetus, with the help of the despot of Rome, Alberic II of Spoleto, established a Cluniac foundation at st. paul-outside-the-walls with monks from the Abbey at gorze. Despite the political preponderance of Alberic in Rome, Agapetusat least at the beginning of his pontificatemade some notable decisions demonstrating independent papal action and real authority. A struggle over the archbishop of reims had developed when Count Herbert of Vermandois appointed his five-year-old son Hugh as archbishop. Raoul, one of the later Carolingians, conquered Reims and appointed the monk Artaud archbishop. At first the pope supported Artaud; then deceived by forged documents, he turned to Hugh. But when several synods (Verdun, 947; Mousson, 948) and especially the council of Ingelheim (948) called by otto i and presided over by Marinus, papal legate, decided in favor of Artaud, Agapetus confirmed their decisions at a council in Rome (949). The pope in effect ratified Otto's wide powers of administration over Danish bishops in a bull of 948 extending the jurisdiction of the metropolitan of Hamburg over Denmark. Within Germany he likewise gave Otto broad jurisdiction over monasteries and sent Otto's brother, Abp. bruno of cologne, the pallium, which he permitted Bruno to wear at will. But in spite of the pope's desires to crown Otto I emperor during Otto's Italian expedition (951952) to rescue Adelaide, dispossessed widow of Lothair II of Italy, Alberic would have none of it. Alberic effectively controlled Rome until his death in 954, and Agapetus played a continually diminishing role in Roman affairs. In the pope's presence Alberic had the nobles and clergy swear they would elect his son Octavian (later john xii) as Agapetus's successor. Octavian succeeded to the temporal government of Rome in 954 and awaited only the pope's death to gain the papacy itself. Agapetus was buried in the Lateran basilica.

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[c. m. aherne]