Benedict I, Pope, surnamed Bonosus, a Roman, elected to the papal see after John III, June 3, 574. He occupied the see about four years, dying in 578. During his pontificate Rome suffered greatly from the inroads of the Lombards and from famine. Like his predecessors, he confirmed the fifth ecumenical council. An epistle to the Spanish bishop David, which has been ascribed to him, is not genuine.
II, Pope, also a Roman, succeeded Leo II, 26th June, 684, and died 7th May, 685. His incumbency was marked by nothing of note.
III, Pope, elected July 17, 855. His title was disputed by Anastasius, who was supported by the emperors Lothaire and Louis, whose deputies entered Rome, forcibly ejected Benedict, and imprisoned him. Rome was thrown into consternation at these acts; and the bishops, assembling in spite of the threats of the emperor's deputies, refused to recognize Anastasius. Benedict, removed from the church where he had been imprisoned, was carried in triumph by the people to the palace of Lateran. In unison with Ethelwolf, king of the Anglo-Saxons, he established an English school at Rome. He confirmed the deposition of Bishop Gregory of Syracuse, pronounced in 854 by a synod of Constantinople, which occasioned soon after the Greek schism. There are still extant four of his epistles (Mansi, 15:110-120). He held the see only two years and a half, and died April 8, 858.
IV, Pope, succeeded John IX, April 6, 900, and held the papacy nearly four years, dying Oct. 20, 903. He crowned, in 901, Louis, King of Provence, as Roman Emperor. There are still extant two of his epistles, one addressed to the bishops and princes of Gaul, and the other to the clergy and people of Langres, whose exiled bishop he reinstated (Mansi, 18:233236).
V, Pope, elected in 964. John XII, his predecessor, who had been protected by the Emperor Otho the Great against Berenger and Adalbert, ungratefully took the part of the emperor's enemies. Otho, justly irritated by this conduct, convoked a council at Rome in 963, where John was deposed and Leo VIII elected. John soon after repaired to Rome, held another council in 964, and in his turn deposed Leo; but soon after this John was assassinated, and his party elected Benedict V to succeed him. Otho soon appeared again on the scene, laid siege to Rome, and carried away Benedict (who consented to his deposition) captive into Germany. Leo VIII died at Rome in April, 965; the people demanded Benedict as his successor, and the emperor would probably have granted their request, but Benedict died July 5 of the same year. The historians of the Church of Rome are naturally very much puzzled in deciding whether Benedict was a lawful pope or not; but the question is generally compromised by recognising both Leo and Benedict.
VI, Pope, son of Hildebrand, supposed to have been elected pope on the death of John 13, A.D. 972. On the death of the Emperor Otho, he was strangled or poisoned in the castle of St. Angelo, 974. The papacy about this time was in a most degraded condition.
VII, Pope, son of a count of Tusculum, ascended the pontifical throne in 975, and died July, 984. He held two councils at Rome; in the one he excommunicated the antipope Boniface VIII; in the other, all those guilty of simony. A letter in which he confirms certain prerogatives of the bishop of Lorch is found in Lambecii, Biblioth. Caes. lib. 2. Several other bulls on the privileges of certain diocesan churches are given by Mansi, tom. 19.
VIII, Pope, son of Gregory, count of Tusculum, succeeded Sergius IV, June 17,1012. He was driven from Rome by his competitor Gregory, who in turn was expelled by Henry, King of Germany. In 1014 Benedict crowned Henry Roman Emperor, and presented him with a globe surmounted by a cross, which became henceforth one of the emblems of the empire. The emperor confirmed to the Church of Rome all the donations made by Charlemagne and the Othos, declared that the election of a pope would not require any longer the confirmation of the emperor, and reserved for himself and his successors only the right of sending commissaries to the consecration of the pope. At the request of the emperor, Benedict ordered the recital of the Constantinopolitan symbol during the mass, hoping that it would facilitate a reunion with the Greek Church. In 1016 the Saracens made an irruption into Italy, but were defeated by an army collected by Benedict's energy. He died July 10, 1024. — Gieseler, Ch. Hist. period 3, div. 2, § 22.
IX, the boy-pope, one of the worst monsters that ever held the papal throne. He was elected about June, 1033, but his vile conduct excited the Romans to expel him in 1045, and Silvester III was elected, who held it for about three months, when Benedict, through the influence of his family, succeeded for a time in recovering his dignity. However, he was again compelled to flee, and Johannes Gratianus was, A.D. 1045, put into his place, who took the style of Gregory VI. It is said, indeed, that Gratian bought his elevation from Benedict, who wished to marry an Italian princess. Thus there were three popes actually living at the same time, and Rome was filled with brawls and murders. To remedy this, Henry the Black, king of Germany, convoked a council at Sutri, near Rome, in December, — 1046, where Gregory VI was deposed, and, by the common consent of Germans and Romans, Suidger was elected pope, and consecrated under the name of Clement II. He, however, died at the end of nine months, i.e. October 9th, 1047; upon which Benedict came to Rome for the third time, where he held his ground till July, 1048, when he was replaced by Damasus II, the nominee of the emperor. Nothing is known for certain concerning him after this period, but he is believed to have died in 1054. — Biog. Univ. 4, 183.
X, (Giovanni di Velletri), was raised to the popedom by a faction in March, 1058, the instant Pope Stephen IX had closed his eyes. Benedict was so ignorant and obtuse that he obtained the surname of Mincio, stupid. Hildebrand, upon his return from Germany in 1059, caused Gerard to be elected under the name of Nicholas II, to whom Benedict quickly yielded. He died in confinement in 1059. — Biog. Univ. 4, 183, XI, Pope (Nicolo Boccasini), was born at Treviso in 1240, entered, at the age of fourteen, the order of Dominicans, and became later the general of his order. Under Boniface he was made cardinal and bishop of Ostia. He was elected pope October 27, 1303, upon the death of Boniface VIII. When elected to the papal throne he was cardinal- bishop of Ostia. His pontificate was short, extending only to eight months. He took off the sentence of excommunication pronounced against the King of Denmark, and the interdict laid upon his kingdom, and annulled the bulls of Boniface VIII against Philippe-le-Bel of France. He died of poison at Perugia on the 6th or 7th of July, 1304, and was enrolled among the saints by Pope Clement XII, April 24th, 1736, his festival being marked on the 7th of July. He left Commentaries on Job, the Psalms, the Apocalypse, and Matthew, besides some volumes of Sermons and his Bulls.
XII (originally Jacques de Nouveau), a native of Saverdun, and monk of Citeaux, afterward bishop of Pamiers and of Mirepoix. pope from Dec. 1334, to April, 1342, was the third of the Avignon (q.v.) popes, the friend of Petrarch, and one of the most virtuous of the pontiffs. Scarcely was he elevated to the pontificate when a deputation was sent to him from Rome pressing him to return to the ancient seat; but circumstances induced him to remain at Avignon. He addressed the Castilian clergy on the necessity of reforming their lives, and endeavored; though with little success, to correct some of the more glaring evils of the Romish system. He died April 25, 1342, at Avignon. See his life in Baluze, Vies ds Papes d'Avignon.
XIII (A), Pope, was of a noble family of Aragon. His name was Pedro de Luna, and in 1375 he was made cardinal by Gregory IX. On the death of Gregory XI began the great Western schism, by the election of Urban VI at Rome and of Clement VII at Avignon. Pedro de Luna took part with the latter, who made him his legate in Spain. Upon the death of Clement, Pedro was chosen by the cardinals attached to the party at Avignon to succeed him on the 28th of September, 1394, and in the mean time Boniface VIII had ascended the throne at Rome. To put an end to the schism, it was agreed by all the sovereigns of Europe, except the king of Aragon, that a cession of the papal dignity should be made by both parties, but both Benedict and Boniface refused to resign; whereupon, in a national council held at Paris May 22d, 1398, it was agreed to withdraw from the obedience of Benedict. This example having been followed in almost all the countries of Europe, sixteen of the cardinals who had adhered to Benedict deserted him. He was besieged at Avignon by the Marechal de Boucicault, and with difficulty escaped. After this the aspect of his affairs for a time brightened; but at length, in the council of Pisa, convoked in 1409, both Benedict and Gregory XII were excommunicated and deposed. Benedict, driven from Avignon, retired to the little castle of Peniscola, in Valencia, retaining the support of Aragon, Castile, and Scotland. Thus the schism still remained; and it was necessary to call another council, which met at Constance in 1414, where Ottoneo Colonna was elected pope under the name of Martin V, who anathematized Benedict, but without producing any effect, since he continued in his rebellion till his death, which happened at Peniscola November 17th, 1424. So far did he carry his resolution to prolong the schism, that he exacted a promise from the two cardinals who continued with him that they would elect another pope to succeed him after his death: this was done in the person of Clement VIII. — Hist. of the Popes, p. 280.
XIII (B), Pope, originally Pietro Francisco Orsini, was born in 1649, and was raised to the papal chair May 29th, 1724. He was pious, virtuous, and liberal; but, unfortunately, placed too much confidence in Cardinal Coscia, his minister, who shamefully oppressed the people. A fruitless attempt which he made to reconcile the Romish, Greek, Lutheran, and Calvinist churches bears honorable testimony to his tolerant spirit. His theological works, including Homilies on Exodus, etc., were published at Rome (1728, 3 vols. fol.). He died in 1730. His Life was written by Alessandro Borgia (Rom. 1741). — Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. 2, 305, 370.
XIV, Pope, originally Prospero Lambertini, of a noble family of Bologna, was born in 1675, became in 1727 bishop of Ancona, in 1728 cardinal, in 1731 archbishop of Bologna, and succeeded Clement XII August 17th, 1740. He was a man of great ability, learning, and industry, and was especially distinguished in the canon and civil law. He died May 3, 1758, after having signalized his pontificate by the wisdom of his government, and his zeal for the propagation of Romanism. During the eighteen years of his reign Rome enjoyed peace, plenty, and prosperity, and half a century after his death the pontificate of Lambertini was still remembered and spoken of at Rome as the last period of unalloyed happiness which the country had enjoyed. His tolerance was remarkable; indeed, it exposed him to the censure of the rigorists among the college of cardinals. Without exhibiting any thing like indifference to the doctrines of the Church of which he was the head, he showed urbanity and friendliness toward all Christians of whatever denomination, whether kings or ordinary travelers, who visited his capital; and in Germany, France, and Naples his influence was constantly exerted to discourage persecution, and to restrain the abuse of ecclesiastical power. Benedict was learned not only in theology, but in history, in the classical writers, and in elegant literature, end he had a taste for the fine arts. His works were published at Rome in 12 vols. 4to (1747). The most remarkable are his treatise De Servorum Dei Beatificatione et Beatorum Cananizatione, in four books, a work full of historical and theological learning: — De Synodo Diocesana, which is also much esteemed: — Institutiones Ecclesiasticae: — De Missae Officio, libri 3; besides his Bullarium, or collection of bulls issued by him, and several letters and dissertations in Italian. Benedict was always opposed to the Jesuits, and, when he died, was preparing to suppress the order. — i.e. du pape Benoit XIV. (Paris, 1775); Ranke, Hist. of Papacy, 2, 287.