- Pope Leo VIII
English name=Leo VIII
December 6, 963
March 1, 965
dead=dead|death_date=March 1, 965
Leo VIII (died
March 1, 965), considered by the Church an Antipopefrom 963 to 964, a true Popefrom 964 to 965, a Roman by birth, held the lay office of "protoserinus" when he was (allegedly invalidly) elected pope at the insistence of Emperor Otto I the Great(936–973), by the Roman synod which invalidly deposed Pope John XII(955–964), who was still alive, in December 963.
Having been hurried with unseemly haste through all the intermediate orders, he received consecration two days after his election, which was unacceptable to the people. In February 964, the Emperor having withdrawn from the city, Leo VIII found it necessary to seek safety in flight, whereupon he was deposed by a
synodheld under the presidency of the restored John XII. On the sudden death of John XII, the populace chose Pope Benedict V(964–966) as his successor; but Otto I, returning and laying siege to the city, compelled their acceptance of Leo VIII.
With the consent of all his would-be judges, Benedict was degraded to the rank of a deacon, Leo himself tearing the
palliumfrom his shoulders (July, 964). If it be the fact, as is asserted by a contemporary, that Benedict validly acquiesced in his deposition, and if, as seems certain, no further protest was made against Leo's position, he may well be regarded as a true pope from July, 964, to his death in 965, about the month of March.
It is usually said that, at the synod which deposed Benedict V (with his ultimate consent), Leo VIII conceded to the Emperor and his successors as sovereign of Italy full rights of
investiture, but the genuineness of the document on which this allegation rests is more than doubtful.
Leo VIII was succeeded by
Pope John XIII(965–972).
* [http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/01_01_0963-0964-_Leo_VIII.html Opera Omnia by Migne Patrologia Latina with analytical indexes]
*9th edition (1882) of the
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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