Sergius IV, Pope

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Pontificate: July 31, 1009, to May 12, 1012; b. unknown. d. May 12, 1012. Sergius was the son of Peter the shoemaker of the Ad Pinea district in Rome. He was originally named Peter, but he received the nickname Pig's snout (Bucca porci ) presumably because of his peculiar appearance. From approximately 1004 to 1009 Sergius served as the bishop of Albano. The following year, he was elected to the papacy but the details of the event are not clear. In all probability, his election was secured through the influence of John II, head of the Crescentii. Contrary to tradition, Sergius was not the first pope to change his name but he is still credited with having made the practice common. Also, the story that Sergius touched off the Eastern Schism by sending Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople the Synodicon containing the filioque clause is erroneous. Finally, his authorship of a manifesto for a crusade against the Muslim power is almost certainly spurious. The few known details of Sergius's reign are vague. There is some evidence that he exempted several monasteries from episcopal jurisdiction and that he was a friend of the poor during a time of famine. Apparently Sergius also had the trust of some nobles who put their lands under his protection. The fact that Sergius died just six days prior to Cresentius coupled with the violent political upheaval and the rapid election of a Tusculan candidate for the papacy suggests foul play to most historians. Sergius was buried in the Lateran Basilica.

Bibliography: p. jaffÉ, Regesta pontificum romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum 1198, ed. s. lÖwenfeld et al., 2 v. (2d ed. Leipzig 188188; repr. Graz 1956) 8821198, ed. s. lÖwenfeld, 1:504505. l. duchesne, ed., Liber pontificalis, v. 12 (Paris 188692) 2. h. k. mann, The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages from 590 to 1304, 18 v. (London 190232) 5. É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables générales 1951 ) 14.2:192122. a. fliche and v. martin, eds., Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours (Paris 1935) 7. a. gieysztor, "The Genesis of the Crusades: The Encyclical of Sergius IV (10091012)," Medievalia et humanistica 5 (1948) 323; 6 (1950) 334. f. x. seppelt, Geschichte der Päpste von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des 20. Jh. v.1, 2, 4, 5 (Leipzig 193141) 2. b. schimmelpfennig, The Papacy, tr. j. sievert (New York 1992) 113, 115116. j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (Oxford 1986) 139.

[j. a. sheppard]