- Pope Sergius IV
English name=Sergius IV
birth_name=Pietro Martino Boccapecora
July 31 1009
May 12, 1012
Sergius IV (born in
Rome, died May 12, 1012), born Pietro Martino Boccapecora, was Popefrom July 31, 1009until his death. The date of his birth is unknown. His birth name is believed to have been Pietro Martino (Peter Martin) Boccapecora. This name essentially translated to "Peter Pig's Snout." [ [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13729b.htm Catholic Encyclopedia entry] ] Pietro adopted the name Sergius IV upon accession to the pontificate. He is sometimes cited as the first Pope to adopt a new name, although Pope John II(533–535) and Pope Agapetus I(535–536) are other possible originators of this tradition.
Boccapecora was the son of a shoemaker (also named Pietro) who lived in the city of
Rome. Despite his family's poor background, he performed well after entering the Church, and rose quickly through the ranks. In 1004, he became Bishopof Albano. Upon the abdicationof Pope John XVIII(1004–09) he was elected Pope, and adopted the name of Sergius IV.
The power held by Sergius IV was often overshadowed by
Crescentius III, the ruler of the city of Rome at the time. Some historians have claimed that Sergius IV was essentially a puppet rulerfor Crescentius III. Others, however, claimed that the Pope resisted Crescentius III's power. There is some evidence that Sergius IV gave political backing to an anti-Crescentius faction in the city.
Acts sometimes attributed to Pope Sergius IV include measures to relieve famine in the city of Rome, the exemption of certain monasteries from episcopal rule, and a
papal bullcalling for Islamto be driven from the Holy Landafter the Church of the Holy Sepulchrewas destroyed in 1009 by the Fatimid caliph al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. Some historians have suggested that this bull was actually invented around the time of the First Crusade, in order to help justify that expedition to Jerusalem. More recently though, historians have forcefully argued for the document's authenticity.
Sergius IV died on May 12, 1012, and was followed in the papacy by
Pope Benedict VIII(1012–24). There was some suspicion that the pope was murdered, as he died within a week of Crescentius, considered by many to have been his patron. Sergius was buried in the LateranBasilica, and is sometimes venerated as a Saintby the Benedictines.
* [http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=904 Catholic Online]
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