Pontificate: July or August to November 897. A Roman priest of the Church of St. Peter in Chains, Romanus became pope amid the disorder following the assassination of Pope stephen vi in 897 and held the see four months. The clergy and people of Rome were torn with strife between the parties who supported the "cadaveric" council held by Stephen in judgment on the corpse of Pope formosus and those who wished to rehabilitate the memory of the ill-fated pontiff. The body of Formosus was rescued from the Tiber and buried, but it was left for the successors of Romanus to restore the remains of the Pope to the tomb in St. Peter's and to revalidate the Orders conferred by him. The successor of Romanus, theodore ii, was pope for only two weeks but in the subsequent pontificate john ix nullified the acts of the council-of-the-corpse.
Bibliography: Liutprand, Antapodosis, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores rerum Germanicum (Berlin 1826–) v.41. auxilius of naples, "In defensionem sacrae ordinationis papae Formosae libellus," in Auxilius und Vulgarius, ed. e. l. dÜmmler (Leipzig 1866). Liber pontificalis, ed. l. duchesne (Paris 1886–92) 2:230. c. j. von hefele, Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux, tr. and continued by h. leclercq (Paris 1907–38) v.4. l. duchesne, Les Premiers temps de l'état pontifical (2d ed. Paris 1904). h. k. mann, The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages from 590 to 1304 (London 1902–32) 4:86–87. a. fliche, L'Europe occidentale de 888 à 1125 (Paris 1930). a. fliche and v. martin, eds. Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours (Paris 1935) 7:25–26. g. schwaiger, Lexikon des Mittelalters 7 (Munich-Zurich 1994–95). j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 116.
[p. j. mullins]