Spirituality for Today – June 2015 – Volume 19, Issue 11

The 106th Pope
Hadrian II

An image of Hadrian II, the 106th PopeHadrian II, the 106th Pope

Pope Hadrian II (867–872) – Pope Hadrian rose to the papacy as a highly respected cleric. It would not take long for troubles to occur. Pope Hadrian was married before he entered the priesthood and, as Pope Hadrian, he witnesses the rape and murder of his daughter and the murder of his wife, by, of all people, the papal archivist. The perpetrator was removed from his post and excommunicated, but, amazingly, was appointed to another position some time later. Following this happening, Pope Hadrian lifted the excommunication of King Lothair and of his mistress under the assumption that the king returned to his wife. Of course, this reversal of fortunes for the king had upsetting effects on the local church.

The Fourth Council of Constantinople (869–870) was attended by two or three papal representatives. An eventful result of the council was the affirmation of the earlier Roman synods condemnation of Photius. In the manner of viewing the organization of the Church in patriarchates, the council established the following list in order of precedence: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Thus, a fragile peace was restored between East and West. The emperor took the opportunity to reassert Byzantine jurisdiction in Bulgaria, but the pope retained Moravia under Roman rule through positive acts of approving liturgical rites native to the people and well received episcopal appointments. A few months before his death in December of 872, Pope Hadrian performed the re–crowning of Louis II at Rome.

Pope Hadrian was buried in the basilica of Saint Peter.

Habemus papam