Gregory VI, Antipope

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Pontificate: May to December 1012. Nothing is known of Gregory until he emerges as the Crescentius family's choice for pope during a period when Rome was free from imperial control. After the death of Emperor Otto III in 1002, the Crescentii had nominated and installed three popes (John XVII, John XVIII and Sergius IV) under the leadership of John II Crescentius, who had been acting as dictator of Rome from 1003. When Pope Sergius IV (100912) died less than a week before John II Crescentius (they died May 12, and May 18, respectively), there was a struggle for control of the city between the Crescentii and their rivals, the Tusculan family. In a successful bid to wrest power away from the Crescentii, the Tusculans selected Benedict VIII (101224) to be pope, while the weakened Crescentii chose Gregory. Gregory's position was precarious from the start, and by the end of summer he had been forced to leave Rome. He went to Germany and appealed to King Henry II (100224) for help. Henry promised to investigate Gregory's claim, but he was already in the process of negotiating an agreement with Benedict, whom he soon recognized. From this point we hear no more of Gregory, and the Tusculans began a decades-long rule in Rome.

Bibliography: l. duchesne, ed. Liber Pontificalis (Paris 188692; repr. 195557) 2.268. thietmar of merseburg, Chronicon 6.101, in Monumenta Germaniae historica, Scriptores (new series) 9.39495. h. jedin and j. dolan, eds. Handbook of Church History (New York 196581) 3.249. k. j. herrmann, Das Tuskulanerpapsttum, 10121046 (Stuttgart 1973) 5, 7, 257. j. n.d. kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (Oxford 1986) 141. p. viard, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1986) 21.1423. t. struve, Lexikon des Mittelalters (Munich 1989) 4.1668 for additional bibliography.

[p. m. savage]