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Stephen VIII (IX), Pope


Pontificate: July 14, 939 to Oct. 942; b. Rome. Like his predecessors john xi and leo vii and his successors marinus ii and agapetus ii, Stephen was a protégé of marozia's son Alberic (II) of Spoleto, dictator of Rome. He was educated in Germany. After his return to Rome, he was cardinal priest of the church of SS. Silvester and Martin until his election to the papacy. Stephen offered no opposition to Alberic's control of the states of the church. His private life was blameless; his public life, devoted to peace. In 942 Stephen sent a Bishop Damasus as his legate to France with letters recognizing Louis IV d'Outremer, son of Charles the Simple, as the Frankish king. Louis, who had been crowned in 936 by the archbishop of Reims, was facing a formidable rebellion of powerful French and Burgundian nobles; however, under Stephen's threat of excommunication, it collapsed. In Rome the peace between Hugh of Provence, King of Italy, and Alberic II was broken once again in 942. Stephen requested odo of cluny to negotiate yet another peace. The cluniac reform continued throughout Stephen's pontificate. He was buried at the Vatican.

Bibliography: p. jaffÉ, Regesta pontificum romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum 1198, ed. s. lÖwenfeld (repr. Graz 1956) 1:457458. Liber pontificalis, ed. l. duchesne (Paris 188692) 2:244. h. k. mann, The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages from 590 to 1304 (London 190232) 4:212217. f. x. seppelt, Geschichte der Päpste von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des 20. Jh. (Munich 195459) 2:357. r. aubert, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 15:1198. r. benericetti, La cronologia dei Papi dei secoli IXXI secondo le carte di Ravenna, 40. m. heim, Lexikon des Mittelalters, 8 (Munich-Zurich 1996). j. n. d. kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 124.

[m. a. mulholland]

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