Sergius II, Pope

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Pontificate: Jan. 25, 844 to Jan. 27, 847; b. Rome. He was a member of the Roman nobility, who were responsible for his election and who overcame the opposition of the popular antipope John, a deacon, who very briefly held the Lateran palace after the death of gregory iv. Sergius was consecrated in St. Peter's (January 844) without informing the Emperor lothair i as prescribed in the Constitutio Romana (see eugene ii). Thereupon the Emperor sent his son louis (ii) to call the pope to account; Sergius received Louis on condition that he swear not to attack Rome, and then on June 15, 844, anointed and crowned him king of the Lombards. Thereafter an altercation arose when Louis's adviser, drogo, Bishop of Metz, insisted that the Romans swear fidelity to Louis, a plan that Sergius rejected; instead he had the Romans swear such an oath to the Emperor Lothair in accord with the Constitutio.

Sergius later appointed Drogo his legate to the Franks. ebbo, deposed archbishop of Reims, also received support from Sergius. The pope's intervention in the dispute between the patriarchs of Grado and Aquileia was interrupted by his sudden death. Sergius is accused of failing to provide Rome with adequate protection against the Saracen attack of Aug. 23, 846, despite advance warning. The extensive building program of Sergius's reign was carried out largely by his brother, Benedict. The Marcian aqueduct was restored and the Lateran basilica enlarged "according to Sergius's own design." The fact that the pope suffered from a crippling gout may have been the reason for his brother's prominence and his own allegedly testy disposition.

Bibliography: Liber pontificalis, ed. l. duchesne (Paris 188692) 2:86105. p. jaffÉ, Regesta pontificum romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum 1198, ed. p. ewald (repr. Graz 1956) 1:327329. l. duchesne, The Beginnings of the Temporal Sovereignty of the Popes, tr. a. h. mathew (London 1908). h. k. mann, The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages from 590 to 1304 (London 190232) 2:232257. a. fliche and v. martin, eds., Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours (Paris 1935) 6:275281. j. haller, Das Papsttum (Stuttgart 195053) 2.1:2730. g. schwaiger, Lexikon des Mittelalters, 7 (Munich-Zurich 199495). d. trestik, [Die Taufe der tschechischen Fürsten im Jahre 845 und die Christianisierung der Slawentschechish]: Český časopis historycký 92, (Praha 1994). j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 103104.

[c. m. aherne]