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Leo VII (3 Jan. 936–13 July 939)

Leo VII (3 Jan. 936–13 July 939)

The Papal Reform of the Eleventh Century: Lives of Pope Leo IX and Pope Gregory VII

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The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East. Edited by John G. Gammie and Leo G. Perdue. Pp. vii + 545. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990. isbn 0 931464 46 3

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Giovanni di Averardo de’ Medici (1360 - 1429) and Cosimo de’ Medici (1389 - 1464) and Piero de’ Medici (1416 - 1469) and Giovanni de’ Medici (1421 - 1463) and Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449 - 1492) and Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici (1463 - 1503) and Leo X (1475 - 1521) and Clement VII (1478 - 1534) and Giuliano de’ Medici (1479 - 1516) and Ottaviano de’ Medici (1482 - 1546), administrator and Lorenzo de’ Medici (1492 - 1519) and Ippolito de’ Medici (1511 - 1535) and Alessandro de’ Medici and Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519 - 1574) and Eleonora de’ Medici (1522 - 1562) and Francesco I de’ Medici (1541 - 1587) and Ferdinando I de’ Medici (1548 - 1609) and Giovanni de’ Medici (1566 - 1621) and Cosimo II de’ Medici (1590 - 1621) and Carlo de’ Medici (1596 - 1666) and Lorenzo de’ Medici (1599 - 1648) and Ferdinando II de’ Medici (1610 - 1670) and Giovanni Carlo de’ Medici (1611 - 1663) and Mattias de’ Medici (1613 - 1667) and Leopoldo de’ Medici (1617 - 1675) and Vittoria della Rovere (1622 - 1694) and Cosimo III de’ Medici (1642 - 1723) and Ferdinando de’ Medici (1663 - 1713) and Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici (1667 - 1743) and Gian Gastone de’ Medici (1671 - 1737)


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(3 Jan. 936–13 July 939)

The successor of John XI, he owed his elevation to Alberic II, prince of Rome, patrician and senator of all the Romans, who ruled the city with absolute control from 932 to 954. Nothing is known of his background except that he was a Roman by birth, cardinal priest of S. Sisto, and in all probability a monk; this last fact may have recommended him to the prince, who was devout and deeply interested in monasticism and monastic reform. Although restricted by Alberic to ecclesiastical functions, he was active, with his full support, in fostering monastic revival. At the beginning of his reign the great reforming abbot Odo of Cluny (878/9–942) was invited to Rome, and at the pope's request negotiated a fragile settlement between Alberic and King Hugh of Italy (926–48), who since his expulsion from Rome in 932 had been making persistent efforts to regain control of the city. While there, Odo was entrusted with the reform of religious houses in Rome and its neighbourhood, beginning with that of St Paul's basilica. In the same year Leo renewed the privileges of the restored abbey at Subiaco, 80 km east of Rome, site of the grotto of St Benedict (c. 480–c. 550), and in Jan. 938 those granted by his predecessor to Cluny and Déols. Later he extended similar privileges to the revived abbey of Gorze (near Metz), the pioneer of a somewhat different reforming movement in Lorraine.

In 937 or thereabouts Leo sent the pallium to Adaldag, archbishop of Bremen–Hamburg, and appointed Archbishop Frederick of Mainz apostolic vicar and legate for all Germany, entrusting him with a comprehensive programme for the much-needed reform of clergy of all grades, and encouraging him to expel Jews who refused to be baptized. The contemporary chronicler Flodoard of Reims (d. 966), who visited and dined with him in 936, formed a highly favourable impression of his character, wisdom, and personal warmth.

Further Reading

LP ii. 244JW i. 455–7, ii. 706ZPR 46–60PL 132: 1065–88NA 10 (1885), 380–86 (letters)Flodoard, De Chr. trium. 12. 7 (PL 135: 832)DBI lxiv. 504–6 (A. Piazzoni)DTC ix. 316 f. (É. Amann)Mann iv. 205–7Levillain i: 922–3 (H. Zimmermann)NCE viii. 484 (O. J. Blum)Z2: 88–90, 114Partner 84–6

Subjects: Christianity.

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