(30 Oct. 942–early May 946)
Often mistakenly listed as Martin III, he was a Roman by birth and cardinal priest of S. Ciriaco when elected; nothing else is known of his origins and earlier career. Like his two predecessors, he owed his elevation entirely to Alberic II of Spoleto (c. 905–54), prince of Rome, senator and patrician, who ruled the city from 932 to 954 and had his nominees appointed to the papacy. Indeed, Marinus is reported never to have dared to do anything without the prince's instructions; while his coins bore his monogram and that of St Peter on the obverse, they showed Alberic's name and his title on the reverse. A Vatican MS cited by C. Baronius (1538–1607) more flatteringly represents him as shunning warlike conflicts and devoting himself to the reform of both secular clergy and monks, the restoration of church buildings, and the care of the poor. His recorded acts in fact consist largely of routine administrative decisions. Among the more significant were bulls (1) rebuking Bishop Sico of Capua for alienating properties of the abbey of Monte Cassino; (2) confirming (21 Jan. 944) the abbey's possessions and privileges; and (3) placing (summer 945) Abbot Baldwin of Monte Cassino in charge of the monastery attached to S. Paolo fuori le Mura. A fourth bull (early 946) confirmed the appointment of Frederick, archbishop of Mainz (d. 954), as papal vicar and envoy to Germany with authority to hold synods and root out abuses among clergy and monks—an office and dignity granted two centuries earlier to St Boniface (680–754), apostle of Germany. The exact date of Marinus' death in early May 946 is uncertain.
LP ii. 245JW i. 458ZPR 64–72DBI lxx. 502–3 (A. Piazzoni)DTC ix. 2477 (É. Amann)EC viii. 163 (A. Ghinato)Mann iv. 218–23Levillain ii. 970 (H. Zimmermann)NCE viii. 168 (R. Sullivan)