Pope Stephen VII
|Papacy began||February 929|
|Papacy ended||15 March 931|
|Birth name||? Stephanus de Gabrielli|
Rome, Papal States
|Died||c. 15 March 931
Rome, Papal States
Stephen VII (Latin: Stephanus PP. VII, Italian: Stefano VII; died c. 15 March 931) was Pope from February 929 until around March 931. A candidate of the infamous Marozia, his pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.
Stephen was a Roman by birth, the son of Theodemundus, and perhaps a member of the Gabrielli family. He was elected—probably handpicked—by Marozia from the Tusculani family, as a stop-gap measure until her own son John was ready to assume the chair of Saint Peter. Prior to his election, Stephen had been the cardinal-priest of St Anastasia in Rome.
Very little is known about Stephen’s pontificate. During his two years as pope, Stephen confirmed the privileges of a few religious houses in France and Italy. As a reward for helping free Stephen from the oppression of Hugh of Arles, Stephen granted Cante di Gabrielli the position of papal governor of Gubbio, and control over a number of key fortresses. Stephen was also noted for the severity with which he treated clergy who strayed in their morals. He was also, apparently, according to a hostile Greek source from the twelfth century, the first pope who went around clean shaved whilst pope.
Stephen died around 15 March 931, and was succeeded by Pope John XI.
- Mann, Horace K., The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages, Vol. IV: The Popes in the Days of Feudal Anarchy, 891-999 (1910)
- "Pope Stephen (VII) VIII". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Archibald Bower, The History of the Popes: from the foundation of the See of Rome to A.D. 1758 (1845), pg. 311
- Platina, Bartolomeo (1479), The Lives of the Popes From The Time Of Our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII I, London: Griffith Farran & Co., pp. 247–248, retrieved 2013-04-25.
- Mann, pg. 189
- Collegio araldico, Rivista, Volume 5 (1907), pg. 49
- DeCormenin, Louis Marie; Gihon, James L., A Complete History of the Popes of Rome, from Saint Peter, the First Bishop to Pius the Ninth (1857), pg. 287
- Mann, pg. 190
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