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STEPHEN IX

939 - 942 AD

Stephen was a Roman, he entered the ranks of the clergy and became cardinal-priest of Sts. Silvester and Martin. He was elected pope on July 14, 939.

A protégé of Prince Alberic, Stephen had little to do with ruling the Papal States, but he did make his influence felt in France. It is interesting to note that at a time when their temporal power was reduced to nothing, the popes could still exercise so much influence for peace.

What happened was this. Louis, the young son of Charles the Simple, was called back to France from England by the great lords. This not unworthy descendant of Charlemagne, however, actually tried to rule France. When the lords saw this, they plotted, intrigued, and rebelled against Louis. And soon they were pressing him hard. Pope Stephen now intervened. He sent a legate named Damasus on a peacemaking mission. The result was that the French bishops, assembled in synod, tried to persuade Hugh, duke of Francia, to submit peacefully to his monarch. In vain. Hugh continued to make life miserable for young Louis. Then Stephen took two measures, one conciliatory, the other threatening. He granted the pallium to Hugh's nephew, the boy archbishop of Rheims. He told the nobles that if by Christmas 942 they had not sent him envoys to assure him of their submission to their lawful king, they would be excommunicated. This threat bore fruit; the feudal opposition died down a little and some of the pressure was lifted off King Louis.

The same year, 942, Rome itself was again besieged by Hugh of Provence, and again St. Odo, abbot of Cluny, intervened to bring peace.

Stephen IX died toward the end of October, 942.


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