Monday, October 1, 2012

Lesson 16: The Synods of Sutri and Rome (1046)

HENRY III (1039-1056)
       Henry III (1039-1056), the son of Konrad II (1024-1039) as Vicarius Christi and Anointed of the Lord, determined the religious and political unity of the culture of the Middle Ages.  
       He invested imperial bishops with ring and staff, supported the monastic rejuvenation, and enforced the Treuga Dei (Truce of God).
       As a deeply religious person, he was convinced of the necessity of Church reform.

       There were 2 scandalous families in Rome: The Tusculans and the Crescentians.
a.   The Tusculans
       Important Italian political family descending from Theophylactus; it reached the peak of its importance in the 11th century.
       First member: Gregory   partisan of the Emperors received the title praefectus navalis from Otto III.
       Gregory Tusculani had 3 sons:  
(1) Alberic  Count of Palatine
(2) Theophylactus  Cardinal in 1012  Benedict VIII through imperial and aristocratic ties.
(3) Romanus  Senator, thus temporal governor of Rome  Patricius Romanorum  John XIX

Thus, the Tusculans ruled Rome in both ecclesiastical and temporal spheres. After placing a highly questionable man, Benedict IX, their ecclesiastical role in Rome diminished but still exercised enormous political influence, which is used to oppose both the Gregorian Reform and the restoration of papal independence.
       On 1170, Alexander III regained Tusculum in Southeastern Rome for the States of the Church. From then on their political power was transferred to Southern Italy but never regained its former importance.

b.   The Crescentians
       The Italian family who ruled Rome in the 10th century.
       Founder:   Crescentius  took part in the synod convened by Otto I to depose John XII Crescentius’ son John killed the rebels who are against Otto I’s nominee John XIII
       Crescentius’ daughter Theoranda married John XIII nephew, Benedict, the Count of Sabina.
       Other members became Patricius Romanorum.
       They supported the antipope Sylvester III.
       In 1060, Nicholas II deprived them of the county of Sabina and ceased to influence Roman history.


       The Tusculan faction placed a highly questionable man (he was “elected” by way of simony according to the encyclopedia), Benedict IX (1032-1044) as Pope. He was the last Tusculani Pope
       The Crescentian faction elected Sylvester III as antipope in 1045.
       Benedict IX who was driven out of Rome and sold his position to a Roman archpriest John Gratianus who took the name Gregory VI (1045-1046)
       In spite of the arrangement, Benedict IX returned to Rome and now there were 3 popes!


       The advocates of reform appealed to Henry III who felt deeply the sad state of the Church.  On his way to Rome for the coronation he held, a Synod at Sutri and a few days afterwards another Synod at Rome, which completed the work.

       Gregory VI presided at first. The claims of the three rival pontiffs were considered.
1.     Benedict IX -   having twice resigned
2.     Sylvester III -  mere intruder
3.     Gregory VI - simony in buying the papacy; but as he had convoked the synod by order of the emperor and was otherwise a worthy person, he was allowed to depose himself or to abdicate. He acted as pope de facto, and pronounced himself no pope de jure.

       Gregory VI was used by the synod for deposing his two rivals, and then for deposing himself.
       In that way, the Synod saved the principle that the pope was above every human tribunal, and responsible to God alone.

       Henry III adjourned the Synod of Sutri to St. Peter’s in Rome for the election of a new pope.
       The Synod was to elect, but no Roman clergyman could be found free of the pollution of "simony and fornication."
       Then the king, vested by the Synod with the green mantle of the patriciate and the plenary authority of the electors, descended from his throne, and seated Suidger (Clement II), bishop of Bamberg, a man of spotless character, and crowned Henry emperor on the festival of Christmas.

1.   Clement II          -  lived for only 9 months after his election.
2.   Benedict IX        -  took again the possession of the Lateran.
3.   Damasus II         -  died 23 days after his consecration of fever, if not of poison.
4.   Leo IX                -  a good and learned man of noble birth who has sympathy for Cluniac Reform.

         Henry III journey to Rome and conducted the Synods of Sutri and Rome in December 1046.
    He simply deposed the 3 popes and nominated Bishop Suidger of Bamberg who was willingly elected by the Romans. He took the name Clement II (1046-1047).
       Henry also nominated the following Popes among the German Bishops: Damasus II (1048), Leo IX (1049-1054), and Victor II (1055-1057).

1.     Henry III became the master of the Church with his intervention in Papal election.
2.   The Synod of Sutri (1046) is not only the point of arrival for the struggle for Libertas Ecclesiae but also a point of departure for a new period of reform.
3.     It signified the peak and at the same time the turning point of imperial power in the Church.

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