Spirituality for Today – July 2014 – Volume 18, Issue 12

The 95th Pope
Hadrian I

An image of Pope Hadrian I, the 95th PopePope Hadrian I, the 95th Pope

Pope Hadrian I (772-795) – The animosity between Charlemagne and King Desiderius finally broke out into total war. Charlemagne conquered the Lombards and returned the territories of the Papal States to Pope Hadrian. In consequent visits to Rome, the pope and Charlemagne fixed the boundaries of the Papal States and this arrangement would remain until the Papal States were dissolved in 1870.

The Second Council of Nicaea took place in 787. Once again, iconoclasm (condemnation of the veneration and use of icons and other sacred images) was condemned. Perhaps because of a perceived slight of being left out of the event, Charlemagne called his own synod two years later. The synod condemned the adoration of sacred images and a heresy known as Adoptionism (belief that Jesus had a natural and an adopted sonship).

Thanks to the unified and peaceful conditions established by the reign of Charlemagne, the pope was able to direct his attention to many building projects in Rome, both ecclesiastical and civil. His devotion to the plight of the poor was great. Farms within the Papal States generated revenue for his charitable works.

When Pope Hadrian died, Charlemagne was deeply grieved. On the portico of Saint Peter's, Charlemagne placed a large marble slab inscribed with special verses in the pope's memory. This memorial still can be viewed today.

Pope Hadrian is buried in the Basilica of Saint Peter.

Habemus papam