Spirituality for Today – October 2015 – Volume 20, Issue 3

The 110th Pope
Stephen V

An image of Pope Stephen V, the 110th PopePope Stephen V, the 110th Pope

Pope Stephen V (885–891) – Troubles in Rome and the pesky Saracens put the new pope in a defensive position in Rome. Factionalism in the Eternal City was an ever-present threat that needed continuous attention and Saracen raids were a serious issue for any of the popes at the time. Unfortunately for Pope Stephen, the political situation in France was in crisis as the Carolingian Empire was reaching its terminus. The pope was forced to turn for help to Guido III, the duke of Spoleto. The pope crowned him as emperor and the duke promptly assumed control of the Papal States.

Despite his friendly relations with the East, the pope would follow some advice that proved to be unfortunate for unity of East and West. In Moravia, the leader of the church, Methodius died. The pope wished Methodius' disciple, Godarz, to succeed him, but the German clergy demurred. At the core of the problem was the use of the Old Slavonic liturgy. The clergy in Moravia became unsettled at the influence of the Germans in their ecclesiastical affairs and brought Moravia into the sphere of Bulgaria and the Byzantine rite which eventually spread to numerous other countries including Russia.

Pope Stephen is buried in the Basilica of Saint Peter.

Habemus papam