Papal History

In 897, Pope Stephen VI/VII (he’s either/both due to some confusion/conflict in the numbering), accused his predecessor, Pope Formosus of various breaches of canon law and put him on trial. The most immediate problem with the whole thing was the fact that Formosus had died in 896. But Stephen wasn’t about to let that minor difficulty stop him from slandering his rival. The late Formosus was tried (by Stephen) found guilty (by Stephen). The whole debacle came to be known as the Cadaver Synod.

In the aftermath of the Cadaver Synod, public opinion – for some inexplicable reason – turned against Stephen, who was promptly deposed, imprisoned and murdered. On the orders of Pope Theodore II, the decision of the Cadaver Synod was overturned and Formosus’ body, which had been tossed into the Tiber, was recovered and honorably buried in St. Peter’s Basilica. He was then exhumed and tried once more by Pope Sergius III – a decision that was one again disregarded overturned by less demonstrably insane Popes.

Note: I did not make this up. As ridiculous as this seems, it is a verifiable historical event.

Note 2: Yeah, the Medieval/Renaissance Papacy was pretty crazy.

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~ by My Core Beliefs on September 22, 2011.

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