Pope Benedict VIII

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Benedict VIII
Pope Benedict VIII.jpg
Papacy began18 May 1012
Papacy ended9 April 1024
PredecessorSergius IV
SuccessorJohn XIX
Personal details
Birth nameTheophylactus
Bornc. 980
Died(1024-04-09)9 April 1024
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Other popes named Benedict

Pope Benedict VIII (Latin: Benedictus VIII; c. 980[1] – 9 April 1024) reigned from 18 May 1012 to his death in 1024. He was born Theophylactus to the noble family of the counts of Tusculum (son of Gregory, Count of Tusculum, and brother of future Pope John XIX), descended from Theophylact, Count of Tusculum, like his predecessor Pope Benedict VII (973–974). Horace Mann considered him "...one of the few popes of the Middle Ages who was at once powerful at home and great abroad."[2]


Benedict VIII was opposed by an antipope, Gregory VI, who compelled him to flee Rome.[3] He was restored by Henry II of Germany, whom he crowned Holy Roman Emperor on 14 February 1014. He remained on good terms with Henry for his entire pontificate.[4] In Benedict VIII's pontificate the Saracens renewed their attacks on the southern coasts of Italy. They effected a settlement in Sardinia and sacked Pisa.[5] The Normans also then began to settle in Italy. The Pope promoted peace in Italy by allying himself with the Normans, orchestrating the defeat of the Saracens in Sardinia[6] and subjugating the Crescentii. In 1022, he held a synod at Pavia with the Emperor to restrain simony and incontinence of the clergy.[7] The reformation sponsored by Cluny Abbey was supported by him, and he was a friend of its abbot, St. Odilo.

In 1020, Benedict VIII travelled to Germany to confer with Henry II about the renewed Byzantine menace in the Mezzogiorno. Arriving at Bamberg at Eastertide, he consecrated the new cathedral there, obtained a charter from Henry II confirming the donations of Charlemagne and Otto the Great, and visited the monastery of Fulda.[8]

In 1022 Benedict received Æthelnoth, Archbishop of Canterbury, who had traveled to Rome to obtain the pallium.[9]

To further the interest of peace, he encouraged the Truce of God.[2]

He convinced the Emperor to lead an expedition into the south of Italy and subordinate his vassals who had defected to Greek authority.

Family tree[edit]

Theophylact I, Count of Tusculum
Hugh of Italy
(also married Marozia)
Alberic I of Spoleto
d. 925
Pope Sergius III
Alda of Vienne
Alberic II of Spoleto
David or Deodatus
Pope John XI
Gregory I, Count of Tusculum
Pope John XII
Pope Benedict VII
Pope Benedict VIII
Pope 1012–1024
Alberic III, Count of Tusculum
d. 1044
Pope John XIX
Pope 1024–1032
Peter, Duke of the Romans
Pope Benedict IX

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
  2. ^ a b Mann, Horace. "Pope Benedict VIII." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 8 Sept. 2014
  3. ^ Mosheim, Johann Lorenz; Murdock, James (1832). Institutes of Ecclesiastical History. A. H. Maltby. pp. 181–182.
  4. ^ Lasko, Peter (1994). Ars Sacra: 800–1200. Yale University Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0300060485.
  5. ^ Gregorovius, Ferdinand; Hamilton, Annie (2010). History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages. Cambridge University Press. p. 25.
  6. ^ Collins, Roger (2012). Caliphs and Kings: Spain 796–1031. Blackwell Publishing. p. 201. ISBN 9780631181842.
  7. ^ Walker, Williston (1921). A History of the Christian Church. Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 218.
  8. ^ Ottosen, Knud (2008). The Responsories and Versicles of the Latin Office of the Dead. Books on Demand. p. 263.
  9. ^ Ortenberg "Anglo-Saxon Church and the Papacy" English Church and the Papacy p. 49
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Sergius IV
Succeeded by
John XIX