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STEPHEN

752 AD

Two things are noteworthy about Pope Stephen II. He had the shortest pontificate in the whole history of the papacy and he caused annoyance to historians because of the dispute as to whether or not he should be included in the list of popes.

Stephen was a priest of the Roman clergy. After the death of the great St. Zachary, Stephen was elected unanimously. He accepted and was sitting down doing business in the Lateran Palace the third day after his election when apoplexy struck him. He died the day after.

Many historians did not include him in the list of popes, and as a result in some books the numeral after later popes named Stephen is placed thus:

Stephen (II) III. This is confusing and quite unnecessary. Everything points to the conclusion that the short-lived Stephen should be included in the list of popes. He was duly elected. He accepted. He actually was governing the Church when he was struck down. According to tradition, he should be included in the list of popes, and indeed his picture has its place in the famous medallions of the popes in the basilica of St. Paul- Outside-the-Walls. Last, but not least, Stephen is included in the list of popes given in the "Annuario Pontificio." For these reasons, even though he was never consecrated, Stephen has his place in this book, and his successor will be called Stephen III without any parenthesis.


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