Benedict VIII, Pope

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Pontificate: May 18, 1012 to April 9, 1024; b. Theophylactus. He was a brother both to that Alberic who became consul et dux of Rome and to the future Pope john xix, and was the first pope of the tusculani. Benedict, and not the candidate of the crescentii, the antipope Gregory VI, obtained the approval of henry ii, whom he crowned emperor in Rome in 1014. Benedict was a statesman of stature. In 1016 the alliance of the pope, Genoa, and Pisa successfully liberated sardinia from the Spanish Saracens and freed the mainland from their incursions. Byzantine pressure in southern Italy was, however, too strong for the local forces to contain, and in 1020, Benedict journeyed to bamberg to solicit imperial support. While in Bamberg he consecrated St. Stephen's church, and Henry renewed the Ottonianum (see papacy), at the same time granting the bishopric of Bamberg as a fief to the Roman Church. The campaign of the emperor, accompanied by the pope, in southern Italy (102122), could do no more than restore the status quo. The most pressing problem of the age was reform in the church. Benedict followed the leadership of Henry II. The Roman synod of 1014 had issued decrees concerning irregular ordinations (see simony) and the alienation of church property. The great synod of Pavia, August 1020, which opened with the pope's address, decreed degradation for uncelibate clerics in higher orders and the reduction of their offspring to the status of slavery (see celibacy, his tory of). The emperor approved these decrees and enacted them as the law of the empire.

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