(22 or 23–25 or 26 Mar. 752)
An elderly presbyter of whose previous career nothing is known, he was elected by the clergy and people of Rome a few days after the death of Zacharias on 15 Mar. 752. He was duly installed in the Lateran palace, but had a stroke three days later and died on the fourth day. As he was never consecrated, and consecration was deemed essential by the canon law of the time, he was not reckoned a pope by LP or any medieval document; only since the 16th century did the practice of considering him one, on the ground that valid election is all that is required for a man to be pope, become general in Catholic circles. Thus the Annuario Pontificio included him as ‘Stefano II’ in its official list until 1960, but editions since 1961 have suppressed his name and given subsequent popes called Stephen a dual numbering.
LP i. 440JW i. 270DCB iv. 730 (J. Barmby)DTC v. 973 (A. Clerval)DHGE xv. 1184 (R. Aubert)Levillain ii (‘Onomastics, pontifical’), 1065–8 (B.-U. Hergenmöller)NCE xiii. 515 (P. J. Mullins)R. L. Poole, ‘The Names and Numbers of Medieval Popes’, EHR32 (1917), 476 f.R. Thibaut, ‘Noms et chiffres pontificaux’, NRT72 (1950), 834–8