Stephen IX (X), Pope
STEPHEN IX (X), POPE
Pontificate: Aug. 3, 1057 (consecration, Rome) to March 29, 1058 (Florence); b. Frederick of Lorraine (father Duke Gozelo), he came to Rome in 1050 after the election of Pope Leo IX whose aims of church reform he supported. His brother, Godfrey III the Bearded, was Duke of Lorraine and, by marriage to Beatrice of Canossa, Duke of Tuscany. Frederick's noble birth and kinship with Leo IX marked him for high office. He studied at Liège, where he became a canon, then archdeacon of the chapter of the cathedral of Saint-Lambert. Leo nominated him chancellor and librarian of the Roman Church (before March 12, 1051), thus making him one of the leading papal advisers. Together with Cardinal-Bishop Humbert of Silva Candida and Archbishop Peter of Amalfi he was a member of the ill-fated legation to Constantinople in 1054 when the schism between the Latin and Greek Church became evident, but it is not known how much or even whether he contributed to the anti-Greek polemics current at that time. On account of the conflict between his brother Godfrey and Emperor Henry III he entered the abbey of montecassino upon his return where he was elected abbot (May 23, 1057) at the urging of humbert of silva candida and Hildebrand (later gregory vii). On June 14, Victor II made him cardinalpriest of St. Chrysogonus. Within two months Victor was dead and Frederick elected in his place. Prior approval of the Empire was not sought possibly because of the presence of Stephen's brother Godfrey and the minority of Emperor Henry IV, whose mother Agnes served as Empress-Regent. Although most historians have interpreted this event as a first step toward freeing the papacy of imperial control, it has been overemphasized, and it is safer to assume that the intention was primarily to avoid any interference by the Roman nobility and to secure the protection of Duke Godfrey and his troops for the papacy. Empress Agnes subsequently gave her approval to the election. As pope, Stephen continued the reform and centralization of the Church. He promoted Peter Damian and Humbert of Silva Candida to positions of authority and used Hildebrand on missions. Like Leo IX he tried to fight against Norman inroads in southern Italy and once again sought to settle the Eastern schism in 1058.
He died in Florence was buried in the Church of S. Reparata. Despite his brief pontificate he may be accounted with Leo IX and Nicholas II as one of the decisive personalities in the early stages of the gregorian reform.
Bibliography: g. despy, "La Carrière lotharingienne du pape Etienne IX," Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire 31 (1953) 955–972. e. goez, Beatrix von Canossa und Tuszien (Vorträge und Forschungen Sonderband 41) (Sigmaringen 1995). j. laudage, "Stephan IX," Lexikon der Päpste und des Papsttums (Freiburg-Basel-Vienna 2001) 375. w. peters, "Papst Stephan und die Lütticher Kirche," in Papstgeschichte und Landesgeschichte (Festschrift H. Jakobs, Cologne 1995) 157–176. r. schieffer, "Stephan IX," Lexikon des Mittelalters 8 (Munich-Zuirch 1996) 118. g. tellenbach, The Church in Western Europe from the Tenth to the Early Twelfth Century, translated by t. reuter (Cambridge, England 1993).