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Pope Sergius IV

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Sergius IV
Papacy began 31 July 1009
Papacy ended 12 May 1012
Predecessor John XVIII
Successor Benedict VIII
Personal details
Birth name Pietro Martino Buccaporci
Born Unknown
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Died 12 May 1012(1012-05-12)
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Other Popes named Sergius

Pope Sergius IV (died 12 May 1012), born in Rome as Pietro Martino Buccaporci, was Pope from 31 July 1009 until his death. The date of his birth is unknown. His birth name is believed to have been Pietro Martino (Peter Martin) Buccaporci. This name essentially translates as "Peter Pig's Snout."[1] Pietro adopted the name Sergius IV upon accession to the pontificate.

Buccaporci was the son of a shoemaker (also named Pietro). Despite his family's poor background, he performed well after entering the Church and rose quickly through the ranks. In 1004, he became Bishop of Albano. Upon the abdication of Pope John XVIII in 1009. he was elected pope and adopted the name Sergius IV.

The power held by Sergius IV was often overshadowed by John Crescentius III, the ruler of the city of Rome at the time. Some historians have claimed that Sergius IV was essentially a puppet ruler for Crescentius III. Others, however, claimed that the Pope resisted his power; there is some evidence that Sergius IV gave political backing to an anti-Crescentius faction in the city.

Acts sometimes attributed to Pope Sergius IV include measures to relieve famine in the city of Rome, the exemption of certain monasteries from episcopal rule, and a papal bull calling for Islam to be driven from the Holy Land after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was destroyed in 1009 by the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. Some historians have suggested, however, that this bull was actually invented around the time of the First Crusade in order to help justify that expedition to Jerusalem. More recently, some historians have forcefully argued for the document's authenticity.

Sergius IV died on 12 May 1012 and was followed in the papacy by Pope Benedict VIII. There was some suspicion that the Pope was murdered, as he died within a week of Crescentius, considered by many to have been his patron. Sergius was buried in the Lateran Basilica, and is sometimes venerated as a Saint by the Benedictines.[2]

References

  1. Catholic Encyclopedia entry
  2. Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI, (HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), 168.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John XVIII
Pope
1009–12
Succeeded by
Benedict VIII