The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope John XVIII (1003-1009)
Creation of 1004 (I)


(1) 1. PIETRO, O.S.B. (ca. 970-1012)

Birth. Ca. 970, Rome. Son of Pietro, a shoemaker, and Stefania; the family lived in the ninth region of Rome, called Ad Pinea. His name is also listed as Pietro Martino and Martino Pietro; his nickname, Boccapecora, under which he is also listed, means pig's snout; other forms of the nickname are Boccadiporco, Bocca di porco and Bucca Porci.

Education. Entered the Order of Saint Benedict (Benedictines).

Priesthood. Ordained (no further information found).

Cardinalate. Created cardinal bishop of Albano in 1004. Consecrated (no information found).

Papacy. Elected pope on July 31, 1009 ; the election was influenced by the Crescenzi family, then in control of the government of Rome through Giovanni II, senatus romani patricius. Took the name Sergius IV; he changed his name from Peter out of respect for the first pope, the Apostle Peter. He was consecrated the following July. He maintained a friendly relationship with Emperor Heinrich II and sent envoys to the consecration of the cathedral of Bamberg in April. 1012; and also ratified the privileges that Pope John XVIII had awarded the city of Bamberg. He erected a cenotaph in the Lateran basilica in honor of his predecessor Pope Sylvester II. He created ten cardinals in two promotions.

Death. May 12, 1012 (2), possibly murdered, Rome (3). Buried in the Lateran Basilica, Rome, usta fores ecclesiae, near the left entrance; his tomb was destroyed in the fire of either 1308 or 1361; the burnt remains were collected and buried in a polyandrum near the lesser door of the basilica, at the entrance near the tomb of Pope Innocent III, on the right side of the nave. A cenotaph located by the fourth pillar in the intermediate nave by famed sculptor Francesco Borromini exists; it has an undated and very praiseful epitaph, which records the pontiff's prudence, piety and generosity toward the poor (4).

Sainthood. He is inscribed in the Benedictine Menology, a listing of saints, with brief biographies, arranged in calendar order.

Bibliography. Bachrach, B. S. "Pope Sergius IV and the foundation of the Monastery at Beaulieu-les-Loches." Revue Bénédictine LCV (1985), 240-265; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 1, 92; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1677, I, col. 764, no. I, and 764-766; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. 40; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIè siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1927. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1928, p. 130, no. 1; Gams, Pius Bonifatius. Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae. 3 v. in 1. Graz : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1957, p. XXII; Gieysztor, 'A. "The Genesis of the Crusades: the Encyclical of Sergius IV", Medievalia et Humanistica 5 (1948), 3-34; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 139; "Serge IV" in "Les papes du XIe siècle." Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1903. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1902, p. 94; Penteriani, Ulderico. "Sergio IV, papa." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 979-980; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 80-81; Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab conditio Ecclesia. Ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Graz : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1956. 2 v. Reprint. Originally published : Lipsiae : Veit et comp., 1885-1888. Original t.p. included : Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia : ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Editionem secundam correctam et auctam edidit Philippus Jaffè ; auspiciis Gulielmi Wattenbach; curaverunt S. Loewenfeld, F. Kaltenbrunner, P. Ewald, I, 504-505; Sennis, Antonio. "Sergio IV." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, II, 128-130.

Links. Biography, in English; biography, in English (Britannica); his image and biography, in English; biography, in English; biography, in German; biography, in German; biography, in Italian; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria, Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; another engraving, Bildarchiv Austria, Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his statue, cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Sarzana, Italy; another view of the same statue; his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic; his image and cenotaph by Francesco Borromini, patriarchal Lateran basilica, Rome; and another image of his cenotaph.

(1) This is according to all the sources consulted except "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIè siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1927, p. 130, no. 1; and Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia : ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII, I, 504, which say that he was elected on June 20, 1009, and consecrated the following July.
(2) This is according to all the sources consulted except "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIè siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1927, p. 130, no. 1; and Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia : ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII, I, 504, which say, which says that he died between June 17 and 22, 1012; and "Essai" adds that he was buried at either the Lateran or the Vatican basilica.
(3) According to Kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes, p. 139: "The disappearance of both Sergius and Crescentius from the scene within less than a week of each other (12 and 18 May), the violent political upheaval which took place in Rome at the time, and the immediate election of a pope of the rival Tusculan family have given rise to the suspicion that neither man may have died a natural death."
(4) Text of his epitaph, taken from a photograph in Sennis, "Sergio IV," Enciclopedia dei papi, II, 128:

QVISQVIS AD HEC TENDIS SVBLIMIA LIMINA LECTOR
ET CAPERIS TANTE NOBILITATE DOMVS
INTENTIS OCVLIS AVLE PERCVRRERE RARAS
DESINE MATERIAS ARTE IVVANTE MANVS
LVMINA CVM GRESSV PRVDENS ARGVTA COHERCENS
RESPICE SOLLICITVSQVIT VELIT HIC TITVLVS
HIC TVMVLATA IACENT PASTORIS MEMBRA SERENI
QVEM DEVS ECCLESIE CONTVLIT OMNIPOTENS
PAVPERIBVS PANIS NVDORVM VESTIS OPIMA
DOCTOR ET EGREGIVS QVI FVIT IN POPVLO
IVRA SACERDOTI LETAS DVM VIDIT ARISTAS
CETIBVS EQVAVIT NAVIGER ANGELICIS
ALBANVM REGIMEN LVSTRO VENERABILIS VNO
REXIT POST SVMMVM DVCITVR AD SOLIVM
IN QVO MVTATO PERMANSIT NOMINE PRESVL
SERGIVS EX PETRO SIC VOCITATVS ERAT
DOCTVS MENTE PIA IHV DIC PARCE REDEMTOR
VTQVE VICEM CAPIAS DIC DS HVNC HABEAS
Q. SEDIT ANI. II ET M. VIII ET DIE XII. OBIT M. MDI. DIE XII INDI. X
AN. DNICE INCARN. MILLESIMO TERTIO X.


Translation of the epitaph from Reardon, The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs, p. 80-81:
"Whosoever comes to this lofty threshhold with eager eyes and is amazed by fine nobility of such a great house, cease gaping at the rare treasures that have been shaped skillfully by hand, and be prudent. Keep your footsteps within the gleaming lights and carefully read what this verse wishes to say. Here lie entombed the remains of the serene shepherd whom Almighty God bestowed upon the Church. He was an outstanding teacher to the people, for he clothed the naked and gave bread to the poor. When he saw the abundant ears of corn, he made the rights of the angelic priest equal to the throngs. This venerable man ruled the Alban realm for five years and then was led to the supreme throne on which he remained bishop, though his name was changed. Thus, formerly Peter, he was called Sergius. O you, led here by your religious spirit, say, 'Spare, O Redeemer!' and so that you may obtain a change [into a better life], say, 'God, take Sergius!' He reigned two years, eight months and twelve days. He died on May 12, in the tenth indiction, in the 1012th year of Our Lord's incarnation." -- Trans. Fr. Thomas Buffer).

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