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The Papacy - A Historical Perspective

946-966 A.D.

Agapitus II : 946-955 A.D.

129. Born in Rome. Elected May 10, 946 - died October 955.

He made every possible effort in order in improve the moral conditions of the clergy and with the help of Otto I from Germany he partially restored peace in Italy.

Aroldus, King of Denmark, was converted to Christianity.

Thanks to Agapitus II, the Papacy started a new life, resumed relations with foreign countries, which were not held by his predecessors.

He is buried in the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. His pontificated lasted about 9 years and 6 months

John XII : 955-964 A.D.  [For the seldom mentioned activities of this Pope - Click Here]

130. Born in Rome. Elected December 16, 955 - died May 14, 964

Since he was bold and brave he claimed the temporal rights of the Church.

He reconstituted the Holy Roman Empire by crowning Otto I from Germany, who subsequently dethroned him.

Otto I introduced the bishops-earls.

By choosing the name of John XII instead of Octavianus, he introduced the habit of changing the Christian name, which afterwards became common among popes.

John XII was the first Pope to commence relations with the Germans.

He approved the German archdiocese of Magdeburg, which planned to send missionaries to the Slavic and Russian communities, where disputes among Byzantine Catholic and Orthodox were taking place.

He is buried in the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. His pontificate lasted 8 years and 5 months.

Leo VIII : 963-965 A.D.

131. Born in Rome. Elected December 6, 963 - died March 1st, 965.

He was elected anti-pope by Otto I, after alternate relationships with his predecessor and his successor, Benedict V.

He forbade lay people to enter the presbytery during solemn services.

The dethroning of John was considered valid and therefore the election of Leo VIII is legitimate.

Benedict V : 964-966 A.D.

132. Born in Rome. Elected May 22, 964 - died July 4, 966.

Otto I ordered his exile to Hamburg till the death of Leo VIII.

After the death of the anti-pope, Otto I recognized the appointment, as a result of the pressures coming from Franks, Germans and Romans.

He died in the name of sanctity in Hamburg.

His pontificate lasted about 2 years and 2 months.

It is necessary to say that if Leo VIII ws a legitimate pope, then Benedict V was an anti-pope: On the other hand, both received the imperial legitimisation and as ecclesiastic confirmation.

The period was gloomy and it is difficult to define with certainty the positions of the popes, and to establish the precise chronology of the pontifical succession.

He is buried in the Vatican Grottoes.

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