The POPE Encyclopedia

by Matthew Bunson

Indeks Kristiani | Indeks Artikel
ISNET Homepage | MEDIA Homepage | Program Kerja | Koleksi | Anggota



One of the most gruesome events in papal  history,  held  in
January 897 by Pope Stephen VI (VII) during which the corpse
of Pope Formosus (891-896) was exhumed and placed on trial.
The terrible synod was orchestrated by  Lambert  of  Spoleto
(d.  898),  who  was  a  bitter political enemy of Formosus,
never forgiving him for appealing in 893 to Arnulf, King  of
the  East  Franks  for  aid  against  the  Spoletan  family,
especially his father Guido (Guy) III of  Spoleto  (d.  894)
and  for  crowning  Arnulf  emperor  after  the  pontiff had
already reconfirmed  his  father  emperor  and  had  crowned
Lambert co-emperor.
Lambert had emerged as  virtual  ruler  of  Italy  with  the
departure  of  Arnulf  in  896  after  the  latter's bout of
paralysis had cut  short  his  hopes  of  stamping  out  the
Spoletan  party.  Lambert harbored plans for revenge against
Formosus,  but  the  pontiff  died  shortly  after  Arnulf's
retreat back to Germany.
Following the very brief pontificate of Boniface  VI  (April
896),  Stephen  was elected pope, coming under the immediate
influence of Lambert, whose  cause  he  supported.  Lambert,
encouraged   by  his  equally  spiteful  mother,  Ageltrude,
finally  wreaked   his   vengeance   on   Formosus,   albeit
posthumously,   early  the  next  year.  Having  stirred  up
anti-Formosan sentiment among the populace and  nobility  of
Rome,  Lambert  commanded  Stephen to convene a synod to try
the dead pope on assorted charges such as perjury, canonical
violations, and ambition in seeking the papacy.
What made the proceeding so grotesque was Stephen's decision
to  have  Formosus appear personally. The rotting corpse was
taken out of the tomb, dressed in vestments, and propped  up
in  a chair. A deacon, standing behind the body, answered on
its behalf. To no one's surprise, Formosus was found guilty.
His  acts and ordinations were proclaimed null and void, his
body was mutilated-three fingers on his right hand were  cut
off-and  he  was  placed  in  a common grave. After a little
while, the corpse was dragged out of the  earth  and  hurled
into the Tiber.
A hermit retrieved the remains and gave the  pope  a  decent
burial.  Pope  John IX (898-900) declared the actions of the
cadaver  synod  annulled.  Its  acts  were  burned,  and   a
declaration  made that no posthumous trials were ever too be
held again. Stephen, meanwhile, had fallen  from  power  was
stripped of his office and strangled while in prison.

(sebelum, sesudah)

Published by Crown Trade Paperbacks
201 East 50th Street, New York
New York 10022, USA
ISBN 0-517-88256-6

Indeks Kristiani | Indeks Artikel
ISNET Homepage | MEDIA Homepage | Program Kerja | Koleksi | Anggota

Please direct any suggestion to Media Team