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SERGIUS III

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 667 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SERGIUS III., elected pope by one of the factions in Rome in 898, simultaneously with John IX., was expelled from the city by his adversaries. Circumstances becoming more favour-able, he reappeared in 904, seized the two claimants, Leo V. and Christopher, who were disputing the succession of Benedict IV., and had them strangled. His adherents rallied round the vestiarius Theophylact, a powerful Roman functionary, and his wife Theodora. Sergius is reputed to have been the lover of Theodora's daughter Marozia, by whom he is said to have had a son, who became pope as John XI. This is the beginning of the so-called " pornocracy." Unlike John IX. and his successors, Sergius was very hostile to the memory of Pope Formosus, and refused to recognize any of the ordinations celebrated by him, thus causing grave disorders. He also affected to consider as anti-popes, not only John IX., but also his successors down to and including Christopher. He restored the Lateran basilica, which had fallen down in 897. He died on the 14th of April 911, and was succeeded by Anastasius III.
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