Pope Benedict VII
|Papacy began||October 974|
|Papacy ended||October 983|
|Born||Rome, Papal States|
10 July 983|
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
|Previous post||Cardinal-Priest of San Teodoro (972–974)|
|Other popes named Benedict|
Benedict was born in Rome, the son of David or Deodatus (brother of Alberic II of Spoleto). His date of birth is not known with certainty, but it is known that he was related to Prince Alberic II and connected to the Conti family. Before his election to the papacy, he had previously served as Bishop of Sutri.
He was elected by the Roman clergy and people in October 974 under the influence of Sicco, imperial envoy of Emperor Otto II. He succeeded to the papacy as a compromise candidate to replace antipope Boniface VII (974, 984–985). Boniface, who had caused the death of Pope Benedict VI, usurped the pontificate, and in a month plundered the Vatican of its most valuable contents. He then escaped to Constantinople.
The new pope's authority was opposed by Boniface VII and his supporters, and although the antipope himself was forced to flee, his party followed fiercely in his footsteps and compelled Benedict to call upon Otho II for help. Once he was firmly established on his throne by the emperor, he showed himself both desirous of checking the tide of simony which was rising high in the Church, and of advancing the cause of monasticism.
Benedict VII consecrated the priest James, who had been sent to him by the people of Carthage "to help the wretched province of Africa," which since the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, had seen a steep decline in the number of bishops. Benedict VII visited the city of Orvieto with his nephew Filippo Alberici, who later settled there and became consul of the city in 1016. In 978 Benedict issued a bull defining the boundaries of the diocese of Vic for bishop Froia, thereby rescinding the bulls issued by Pope John XIII that had made Vic an archdiocese. In March 981, Benedict presided over a synod in St Peter's that prohibited simony. In September 981, he convened a Lateran Synod.
Benedict VII died in the year 984, and was interred at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.
- Mann, Horace. "Pope Benedict VII." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 7 November 2017
- De Montor, Artaud. The Lives and Times of the Popes, The Catholic Publication Society of New York, 1911
- Philip Zaleski (30 Nov 2010). The Best Spiritual Writing 2011. Penguin. ISBN 9781101478127.
At the time of the Arab conquest there were more than three hundred bishops in the area, but by the tenth century Pope Benedict VII could not find three bishops to consecrate a new bishop.
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