- In sources prior to the 1960s, this Pope is sometimes called Stephen II and Pope Stephen II is sometimes called Stephen III.
|Pope Stephen II|
|Papacy began||23 March 752|
|Papacy ended||26 March 752|
|Died||26 March 752
Pope Stephen II (Latin: Stephanus PP. II, Italian: Stefano II) was a priest of Rome elected pope in March 752 to succeed Pope Zachary; he died of a stroke a few days later, before being ordained a bishop. In 745, Pope Zachary had made him a cardinal presbyter, with the titulus of San Crisogono, the same titulus later held by Cardinal Frederick of Lorraine, who became Pope Stephen IX.
The Annuario Pontificio attaches to its mention of Stephen II (III) the footnote: "On the death of Zachary the Roman priest Stephen was elected; but, since he died four days later and before his consecratio, which according to the canon law of the time was the true commencement of his pontificate, his name is not registered in the Liber Pontificalis nor in other lists of the popes."
From 752 to 942, eight who bore the name Stephen, including this priest, were elected pope, but only seven reigned as pope. Regnal numbering was not used for popes until the 10th century, and any numbering attached to them has been applied posthumously. The first pope to take the name Stephen after numbering became customary was called Stephen IX during his lifetime and signed all his documents "Stephanus Papa Nonus".
However, later canon law, still in force today, considered election and acceptance by the elect the moment when someone became pope, and this Stephen was then anachronistically called Pope Stephen II. Some writers, but not all, consequently increased the numbering of later Popes of that name, making them Popes Stephen III-X.
Divergence of usage led to the use of a dual numbering for these Popes, so that they are sometimes referred to as Popes Stephen II (III) - IX (X). This practice is found in the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Annuario Pontificio and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
See also 
- Horace Mann, "Pope Stephen II" in Catholic Encyclopedia (New York 2013)
- History's great untold stories: larger than life characters & dramatic ... By Joseph Cummins. National Geographic Books. p. 13.
- Annuario Pontificio 2012 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2012 ISBN 978-88-209-8722-0), p. 11*
- For instance, Pope Stephen II (III)
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14 pages in volume 17
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (February 2010)|
- Bishop of Rome, Patrick Saint-Roch
- Onomastics, Pontifical, Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller
- in Philippe Levillain (editor), The Papacy: An Encyclopedia, Routledge, 2002, 1780, p. ISBN 0-415-93752-3