Benedict III, Pope

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Pontificate: July 855 to Apr. 17, 858. He was a Roman cardinal-priest of St. Calixtus when elected to the papacy. The party of the Emperor, louis ii, however, supported the anti-pope, anastasius the librarian, even though leo iv had excommunicated him in 853. But Benedict won recognition because the clergy and people of Rome remained loyal. According to a 13th-century legend the popess joan governed the Church during this pontificate. In attempting to curb the licentiousness of the nobility, Benedict threatened to excommunicate Hubert, the brother of Queen Theutberga of Lorraine, for plundering monasteries; and insisted that Ingeltrude leave the court of lothair ii of lorraine and return to her husband, Count Boso. Benedict protested against the English who had deposed their bishops without trial and condemned the inaction of the French hierarchy in not removing clerical abuses. He refused to sanction the deposition of Gregory, the Archbishop of Syracuse, by ignatius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, until he had examined the evidence. At the request of hincmar of reims, Benedict approved the acts of the Council of Soissons (853), which upheld Hincmar's claim to the See of reims, provided that the rights of the Holy See were preserved.

Bibliography: p. jaffÉ, Regesta pontificum romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum 1198 (Graz 1956) 1:235236. Liber pontificalis, ed. l. duchesne (Paris 18861958) 2:140150. f. balx, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 8:1427. j. haller, Das Papsttum (Stuttgart 195053) v.2. h. k. mann, The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages from 590 to 1304 (London 190232) 2:308329. j. boussard, "Le diplôme de Hugues Capet, de 988, pour l'abbaye de Corbie," Journal des Savants (Paris 1976) 5464. p. h. depreux, "Büchersuche und Büchertausch im Zeitalter der karolingischen Renaissance am Beispiel des Briefwechsels des Lupus von Ferrières," Archiv für Kulturgeschichte (1993) 290. c. leonardi, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 3d. ed., (1995). j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 105106.

[s. mckenna]