The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Stephen III (IV) (768-772)
Ca. 770 (I)


(6) 1. ADRIANO (?-795)

Birth. (No date found), Rome. Of an illustrious family of the military aristocracy which favored the Frankish party. The family owned a palace in the region of S. Maria in Via Lata. Perhaps he belonged to the Colonna family as his papal arms indicate. Son of Teodoro (or Teodulo), dux romanorum.. His father died when he was a small child, and his mother shortly after. He was received and educated by his paternal uncle Teodoto, who having become consul and duke, entered the offices of the papal administration and occupied, during the pontificate of Pope Stephen II (III), the high post of primicerio of the notaries. He is also listed as Hadrian.

Education. Probably in the Lateran patriarchium.

Early life. He received the clerical tonsure during the pontificate of Pope Paul I, who named him regional notary and ordained him subdeacon. Pope Stephen III (IV) ordained him deacon.

Cardinalate. Deacon cardinalis of the Holy Roman Church before 770 (1).

Papacy. Elected pope on February 1, 772. Took the name Adrian I. Consecrated on February 9, 772. The first act of his pontificate was to bring to Rome all the followers of the philofrankish faction of Christopher and Sergio, who had been exiled by Paolo Afiarta, agent and chamberlain of Lombard King Desiderio, and head of the philolombard faction during the pontificate of Pope Stephen III (IV). Thus, the new pope manifested his firm intention to maintain standing policy of understanding with the Franks. In fact, when the ambassadors of King Desiderio arrived in Rome to congratulate him on his election, he remonstrated demanding the immediate return of the territories of St. Peter. King Desiderio realized that it was useless to insist on an alliance with the pope and decided to follow a strong approach. In the spring of 772, Gerberga, widow of Carloman, arrived with their children in Pavia imploring the aid of King Desiderio in demanding their rights to that portion of land, which belonged to the king, her husband, and had been forfeited by Charlemagne. The king welcomed them with open arms and took them under his protection, hoping to provoke a civil war between the Franks. For this purpose, King Desiderio asked Pope Adrian I to crown Gerberga and his children and, facing the refusal of the pope, he occupied the Duchy of Ferrara, and laid siege to Ravenna, which asked for help to the pope. The best way to convince the king to lift the siege was to ask Paolo Afiarta, who had every incentive to rehabilitate his faction in Rome with a diplomatic success, to intervene, and Pope Adrian I sent him as his ambassador, but with the secret intent to liquidate him. As soon as Afiarta left Rome, a trial against the leaders of the philolombard party, who had participated in the murder of Sergio, and some were executed, others exiled, including Afiarta, judged in absentia. The bodies of Christopher and Sergio were exhumed and buried with honor in S. Peter, thus posthumously rehabilitating them. Archbishop Leone of Ravenna was asked to stop Afiarta as soon as passed through the Exarchate of Ravenna he returned from the embassy before King Desiderio and exile him in some locality in Greece. But Archbishop Leone arrested Afiarta in Rimini, had him condemned by the magistrates of Ravenna and executed. Pope Adrian apparently blamed the excessive "zeal" of the archbishop, but basically, he was very happy to have the party leader of the Lombards eliminated. Thus, King Desiderio lost the last opportunity to exercise his own influence in Rome. With ascendency of the philofrankish party came the rise of the family of Pope Adrian I. His relatives were placed in charge of the most important affairs of state and became responsible of the supreme magistrature; Teodato, his uncle, already consul and dux, became primicerius. Among the iudices, the "ministers of the palace," for which they were assigned the highest administrative and legal responsibilities, were the nephews of the pope, Teodoro and Pasquale; and the latter, at the death of Teodato, became primicerius. These were the early days of nepotism that would characterize much of the history of the Papal States. The transformation of the papacy from its original spiritual character to the political one brought a negative note, and as in any monarchical state, power was a fact of family.

The Lombards reacted by occupying Senigallia, Montefeltro, Urbino and Gubbio. The pope sent an embassy to King Desiderio composed of twenty monks of the monastery of Farfa headed by the abbot; they threw themselves at the foot of the king, wept, and begged him not to cause damage to St. Peter. The king's response was that he wanted to talk alone with Pope Adrian I. The pope made him know that he would meet with the king only after the return of all the new and old territories occupied by the Lombards. The king did not accept that and threatened to march on Rome. At this point. the pope sent an embassy to Charlemagne, who had undertaken to punish incursions and raids by the Saxons, and therefore did not understand the grave situation that had been happening in Italy. The papal delegation met with the Frankish king in Diedenfogen and let him know that King Desiderio had not returned the territories attributable to St. Peter. At the same time, the Lombard king sent an embassy to Charlemagne, stating that the pope's claims were unfounded because everything had been returned and there was not going to be any invasion. In the meantime, King Desiderio began his march on Rome. Pope Adrian I prepared for defense, but thought it more productive to use the religious authority of his person. The pope sent the bishops of Albano, Tivoli, and Preneste to meet King Desiderio and forbade him, under pain of excommunication, to cross the boundaries of the Roman duchy. It is not known if the king with his threat only wanted to intimidate the pope, or actually feared the anathema, but the fact is that he retreated into his territories. Shortly after, arrived in Rome a Frankish mission, of which was part the king's advisor, Alcuino. Charlemagne wanted to know if King Desiderio had actually returned the city to the pope, as he had said. And the legates learned that, contrary to his assurances, the Lombard king had not fulfilled his commitments and had also invaded other territories. Pope Adrian I also informed the legates of the requests for Gerberga and her sons. The Frankish ambassadors then went to Pavia, capital of the Lombard kingdom, but King Desiderio refused the return of the occupied territories and maintained his refusal even after the offer of 14,000 gold florins, which a new embassy had proposed him in the event that the pope had finally received satisfaction. Charlemagne wanted to avoid war, but the threat arising from claims to the succession of the sons of Carloman was perhaps the aspect that most worried him. A meeting in Geneva of the committee of the twelve peers (which later were called the Paladins), composed of the most energetic and intelligent elements of the realm, decided that war was then the only solution. The military campaign began in September 773. King Desiderio,unable to face the enemy in open field, retreated into the fortress of Pavia, which was besieged. The Lombard king counted on the help of Adalgiso, who had gathered his troops in Verona; Gerberga and her children were with him. Charlemagne defeated Adalgiso in open field and forced him to flee; Adalgiso could not get to Pavia and went to Constantinople; Gerberga turned herself and her children over to her brother-in-law, Charlemagne. Charlemagne, realizing that the siege of Pavia was going to prolong itself, asked his wife Hildegard and his children to come to him. When the winter passed, the Frankish king decided to celebrate Easter in Rome. They crossed the Tuscia with the army and arrived in Rome on April 2, Holy Saturday. The Roman authorities, judges and gonfalonieri of the militia, met Charlemagne and his entourage at Novas, south of Bracciano. At the foot of Monte Mario, a vast multitude of people waving palm and olive branches, raising cries of honor to the Patricius Romanorum, went to received him. Charlemagne at this point dismounted his horse and walked the last stretch of road, surrounded by his peers, and went to the basilica of St. Peter. The pope was in the atrium of the basilica to receive him and the two embraced and then entered the church holding hands, while the clergy sang: "Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini." Charlemagne and his entourage knelt before the tomb of the prince of the apostles and thanked him for the victory obtained thanks to his intercession, then Charlemagne expressed a desire to make their devotions in the Seven Churches and the Pope gave permission. On April 6, after the Easter solemn functions and the religious visits, were addressed in St. Peter's political matters. According to the Liber pontificalis, Pope Adrian I gave an incisive speech in which, in essence, he asked the Frankish king to keep the promised donation made by his father Pepin in Quierzy. Charlemagne instructed the notary Itterio to draw up a document identical to the one signed by his father with the precise list of the territories, and signed it along with his peers; the monarch placed the document on the altar of St. Peter's ad solemnly vowed that he would keep the commitments contained in it. Charlemagne gave exactly what was promised by Pepin, namely, almost all of Italy and some conquered provinces, such as Corsica, Venice and Istria and the duchy of Benevento. The text of this "Donation of Charlemagne 'is lost as is that of Pepin and their existence have raised doubts, which have gradually disappeared. The treaty resulted in a different factual situation with the logical dissatisfaction of the pope. The promise may have been of excessive magnitude. Charlemagne left Rome, after having succeeded in June conquering Pavia and relegating Desiderio and his wife as prisoners in Frankish territory and causing the end of the Lombard kingdom in Italy. Charlemagne took the throne of the defeated dynasty and on July 10 in Pavia, he wore the iron crown, assuming the title of "King of the Franks and the Lombards" as well as that of Patricius Romanorum. The latter title was accepted when the pope was freed from the dangers that threatened him, and as such was not necessarily linked to that of defensor.

Charlemagne, as king of the Lombards, had also entered into possession of those powers that had once belonged to the exarch of Ravenna, he was then a patricius-exarch and so, the protective duty assumed by the king of the Franks and Lombards became a supremacy over the pope and the young Papal States. As a manifestation of this supremacy, Charlemagne returned to his Frankish kingdom without having begun to implement his donation to the pope. The slow, gradual return of the land attributable to St. Peter was motivated Charlemagne's belief that the need to expand the papal territories did not have a logical reason to exist, because of the fundamental change in the relations with the former Lombard kingdom. Pope Adrian I had to suffer enough for this heritage of St. Peter and did nothing but write constantly to Charlemagne, incessantly repeating his complaints. A series of letters show the greed of worldly possessions and the fear of losing them; the temporal power is brazenly called the "elevation of the Church"; the obtention of spiritual salvation is promised in return for donations of land and men, and the heavenly happiness is connected with the sacrifice of material goods. As soon as Charlemagne left Italy, Archbishop Leone of Ravenna seized several cities of the exarchate, expelling the papal officials and installing his own, wanting to create an episcopal state, named St. Apollinaris, the patron saint of Ravenna, in opposition to the state St. Peter. Archbishop Leone defended his case personally in the Frankish court and Charlemagne supported him; at the death of the archbishop in 777, the exarchate remained under Frankish control. Another disappointments for the pope were Spoleto, which had become independent under Duke Ildebrando, who recognized the supremacy of Charlemagne; then Lombard Duke Reginaldo of Chiusi seized Città di Castello and other areas of Tuscia; finally, Lombard Duke Arichi of Benevento incited the Campania to revolt against the pope. Pope Adrian I was in despair and sent the letters to Charlemagne full of rhetoric: "We shall wait your highness, sweet as honey, in the same way the parched earth invokes the rain." The Frankish king, overwhelmed by the letters, decided to go to Rome, after the completion of the war in Spain. The visit happened in Easter of 781. The first act of the meeting between the pope and the king was the baptism of fourth son of Charlemagne, Pepin, of whom the pope became the godfather, as at the time of Pepin the Short Pope Paul I, had done with Giselle, the daughter of the monarch. This event immediately tightened the relations between the pope and Frankish ruler. Then the two men passed to the definition of the territorial possessions of the Papal States. The property of the Roman duchy, the exarchate of Pentapolis and Sabina, were recognized to the pope; but Pope Adrian had to renounce his claim on Tuscia and Spoleto, which remained under Frankish jurisdiction. For Benevento Charlemagne recognized that it was necessary to await for the evolution of events, because Duke Arichi was protected by Byzantium and Charlemagne wanted to maintain good relations with the empire; he received an embassy in Rome, from Empress Irene, who had assumed the regency for her minor child Constantine, for whom she sought the hand of the daughter of Charlemagne, Rotrude. Negotiations soon concluded, and led to the engagement, after which Charlemagne left Italy.

Empress Irene's regency was an important event for the Church of Rome because she supported the veneration of images and in 785 she sent a letter to the pope inviting him to attend in person to a council that she and her son wished to convene Constantinople to oppose iconoclasm. The pope was enthusiastic about the initiative and sent two representatives. The council was inaugurated on August 17, 786 at Constantinople, but a revolt of the imperial troops, fueled by some iconoclast bishops, provoked a stalemate at the beginning of the assembly and a change of place. Once the riots were controlled, the council was again summoned in Nicaea in September 787; it condemned the iconoclastic council of 754 and approved the veneration of images. Thus the ecclesiastical unity between Rome and the Eastern Church was restored. Charlemagne was offended for not having been invited to the council, at least as Patricius Romanorum, he who was the most 'powerful ruler of the West. Besides in the report sent by the council, translated from the Greek into Latin by the pope to facilitate its understanding, the wrong term "adoration" of images instead of "veneration" was used and Charlemagne exploited the error by immediately addressing the affront he had suffered. First, he broke the engagement between his daughter and the son of Empress Irene. In the fall of 786 Charlemagne had advanced on Benevento and had forced Duke Arichi to pay him a tribute if he wanted to keep the duchy, and to give his son Romoaldo as a hostage. Then, when in the following year an imperial army, Adalgiso, who placed the forces at the disposal of Duke Arichi so that he would return to full possession of the duchy, in a renewed alliance with Byzantium, Charlemagne undertook another campaign that routed the Byzantines. Duke Arichi and his son Romoaldo died and the duchy was inherited by Grimoaldo, another son of the late duke. Duke Grimoaldo, was in favor of Charlemagne, but when the latter was caught by other problems with the Saxons and did not show any interest in Benevento, which forever was vainly claimed by Pope Adrian I, the new duke sided with Byzantium. Charlemagne wanted to clearly prove its supremacy in the West, not only from a political point of view but also religious. First of all he advanced the right to confirm the election of the bishop of Ravenna, appealing to his status as Patricius, explaining that otherwise the dignity of such a title would have been reduced to zero. Pope Adrian I defended his prerogative well, with fine diplomatic skill for the occasion; the pope adduced that St. Peter was also decorated with purple band and, as a patrician, was opposed to Patricius Romanorum Charlemagne. To oppose St. Peter meant to run into serious risks, so the monarch put aside for then the question. Concerning the "worship" of images, Charlemagne did not intend to back away; he drew up "by the will of God," a series of documents, which passed to history books with the title of Libri Carolini, in which he fought the decision of the council of Nicaea with sarcasm and denied the 'worship' of images, which were instead to serve only as decoration of churches. He compiled a summary, and sent it to Pope Adrian I for approval, recognizing the invalidity of the Council of Nice a. The pope refused, and replied calmly and firmly that at Nicaea had not approved anything abnormal, but had solved an old dispute that held two the two Churches separated. Charlemagne did not give up and quickly called a council at Frankfurt in 794, to which Pope Adrian I could not refuse to send two bishops as his representatives. The assembly acted as Charlemagne was prescribing during the various sessions, so it maintained that the images were not to be "worship" and annulled the decision of the Council of Nice a. The papal delegates had to agree; this time the pope could not react and to yield to the more powerful. The only consolation was the condemnation which the council made against "Adoptionism", a heresy spread in those years, which taught that Christ as man was only "adopted" son of God and not His natural son. Pope Adrian I, refused to accede to the request of Charlemagne to excommunicate Empress Irene and her son. In Frankfurt, in terms of images, the discussion had started from an inaccurate interpretation of the term "adoration" for "veneration," but everything had become an excuse to affirm that the political authority of the West was greater than that of the East; and so powerful as to dictate even in doctrinal disputes. This attitude of interference in ecclesiastical affairs of Charlemagne would not stop there.

Pope Adrian I also had a way of dealing with the Roman duchy from a social point of view, with active interest to the inhabitants and the renewal of the face of the city, which can really be called the "Rome of Adrian I". Liber pontificalis includes one hundred thirty-four interventions of Pope Adrian I, including donations, renovations and new construction (the latter documented in only two cases) in the city of Rome and surrounding area. The pontiff, while respecting the existing spatial planning, prepared and implemented a development plan aimed at large-scale reorganization of defense and welfare of the city and the systematic recovery of places of worship " pro restaurationibus ecclesiarum Dei et divini cultus melioratione " Besides building and restoring innumerable religious buildings, the pope also restructured the banks of the Tiber after a flood in 791; renewed the walls that were once the fortresses of the past; restored several aqueducts, with which it was obtained a more rational distribution of water in various parts of the city, especially with ramifications in several branches of the "Acqua Claudia". The Liber pontificalis notes that what Pope Adrian I did for the churches of Rome far exceeded the work done by his predecessors; with him, the monumental Rome began to shape into a Christian city that would gradually replace the pagan one. In St. Peter's basilica, he renewed the stairs of the atrium as well as the two sides of the quadriportico; enriched the church tower erected by Pope Stephen II with two portals of bronze; renewed the mosaics and paved the floor with sheets of silver; covered the altar with gold plates; and replaced the silver statue placed on the tomb of the apostle with one made of gold. The pope also rebuilt the porches of the Lateran basilica; paved with marble the atrium of the basilica of S. Paolo fuori le mura; renewed the three-nave church of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina; and finally, also rebuilt the basilica of S. Maria in Schola Graeca, so named because of the Greek community who fled from persecution of the iconoclasts of the East, and had settled in the area around the bank of the Tiber near the pagan temples of Fortuna, Virile and Vesta. The appearance of this church was changed considerably with the reconstruction with three naves, which still has nowadays, and an atrium, in addition to the beautifully renovated inside and received the new name of S. Maria in Cosmedin, that is "well-decorated." Finally, it should be noted the interest of Pope Adrian I for a more effective organization of the landed property of the Roman Campagna; already Pope Zachariah had built in the farms, the domus cultae, entrusting it to tenants in order to repopulate the area often affected by malaria. Pope Adrian I founded another with a more intensive development of agriculture and livestock; the most famous was that of Capracorurn in the area of Veio, whose fund was owned by the family of the pope. The farm produced wheat and grapes, and had many pigs; all the products of that farm were taken to the Lateran and were intended for the poor. This was a great charitable deed done by this pope, who in practice had established a real refectory for the poor.

Death. December 25, 795, Rome. On the following day he was buried in St. Peter's basilica in the Vatican. Charlemagne grieved at his death 'as if he had lost a brother or a child', had masses for the eternal repose of the pope's soul celebrated throughout his territories; and had a magnificent marble slab inscribed with gold letters with memorial verses sent to Rome (2). Peter Mallio, the 12th century ecclesiastical historian, in his Historia basilicæ Antiquæ, places the tomb of Pope Adrian I in a chapel behind the transept of the Vatican basilica, between the oratory of Pope Leo the Great and that of Pope Paul I, whose walls had posted the famous inscription. In the 12th century, the chapel was dedicated to the pope, but it is assumed that Pope Adriano I had originally dedicated it to the Eastern martyr Adriano Nicomedia, who from the seventh century was much venerated in Rome.

Bibliography. Bertolini, Ottorino. "Adriano I." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, 681-695; Bresnahan, John Edward. "Adrian I, Pope." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Prepared by an editorial staff at the Catholic University of America. 19 vols. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1967-1996, I, 144-145; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 1,; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificum Romanorum : et S.R.E. Cardinalium ab initio nascentis Ecclesiae usque ad Clementem IX P. O. M. Alphonsi Ciaconii Ord. Praed. & aliorum opera descriptæ : cum uberrimis notis. Ab Augustino Oldoino, Soc. Jesu recognitae, et ad quatuor tomos ingenti ubique rerum accessione productae. Additis Pontificum recentiorum imaginibus, & Cardinalium insignibus, plurimisque aeneis figuris, cum indicibus locupletissimis. Romæ : P. et A. De Rubeis, 1677, I, col. 545-562; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XXXVIII; De Angelis, Maria Antonietta. "Adriano I, papa." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 24-26; Duchesne, Louis Marie Olivier. "Hadrian and Desiderius" and "The Pontifical State in the time of Charlemagne," in The beginnings of the temporal sovereignty of the popes, A.D. 754-1073. Authorised translation by Arnold Harris Mathew. New York : Burt Franklin, 1978. (Burt Franklin : Research and source works series. Philosophy and religious history monographs 121). Reprint of the 1908 edition, which was issued as v. 11 of International Catholic Library, chapter VIII and IX, p. 87-96 and 97-111; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 149, no. 6; Gregorovius, Ferdinando. Le tombe dei papi.. Roma : Edizioni del Centauro, 1931. Seconda edizione italiana riveduta e ampliata da C. Huelsen, p. 27*-28*, no. 29; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 96-97; Le Liber pontificalis. Paris : E. de Boccard, 1981, 1955. 3 v. : facsims. (Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d'Athènes et de Rome). Notes: Reprint of the 1955 edition./ Includes indexes./ Vol. 3: "Additions et corrections de L. Duchesne publiées par Cyrille Vogel ... avec L'Histoire du Liber pontificalis dupuis l'édition de L. Duchesne une bibliographie et des tables générales, I, 486-523; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 132-134, no. 96; Noè, Virgilio. Le tombe e i monumenti fundebri dei papa nella basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano. Modena : Franco Cosimo Panini Editore, 2000, p. ; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 59-60; 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, 289-306; Sefton, David Stevens. The pontificate of Hadrian I (772-795): papal theory and political reality in the Reign of Charlemagne. Dissertation: Thesis--Michigan State University, 1975.

Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English (Britannica); his image and biography, in English, The Catholic Community Forum; his image and biography, in English; his image and biography, in Englis, New World Encyclopedia; his biography, in English; biography, in English, The Papal Library; biography, in Italian, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Treccani; biography by Otorino Bertolini, Enciclopedia dei papai, Treccani; his image and biography, in Italian; biography, in Italian, cronologia.leonardo.it; biography, in German, Biographisch-Bibliographischen Kirchenlexikons; Carlo Magno, re dei Franchi (768-814), conferma ad Adriano I (772-795) la donazione di Pipino il Breve, suo padre, e ne aggiunge altre , fresco, Vatican Archive; Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious (kneeling down) before Pope Adrian I, Grandes Chroniques de France; Arrivée de Charlemagne à Rome, illumination, 16th century, Bibliothéque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Division occidentale; Couronnement de Charlemagne, 15th century, Bibliothéque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Division occidentale; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; Corbis Corporation; images and arms, Araldica Vaticana; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; another engraving, from the same source; his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic; his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic; and his effigy on another medal, from the same source.

(1) "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926, p. 149, no. 6, says that he was deacon cardinalis of the Roman region of S. Maria in Via Lata.
(2) His epitaph, composed by the scholar Alcuin, Charlemagne's counselor, is preserved on the left side of the portal in the atrium St. Peter's basilica in Rome. This is the text of the epitaph, taken from Gregorovius, Le tombe dei papi., p. 27*-28*, no. 29, which has spelt out the abbreviations of the original text:

HIC PATER ECCLESIAE ROMAE DECVS INCLYTVS AVCTOR HADRIANVS
    REQVIEM PAPA BEATVS HABET
VIR CVI VITA DS PIETAS LEX GLORIA CHRISTVS
    PASTOR APOSTOLICVS PROMPTVS AD OMNE BONVM
NOBILIS EX MAGNA GENITVS IAM GENTE PARENTVM
    SED SACRIS LONGE NOBILIOR MERITIS
EXORNARE STVDENS DEVOTO PECTORE PASTOR
    SEMPER VBIQVE SVO TEMPLA SACRATA DEO
ECCLESIAS DONIS POPVLOS ET DOGMATE SANCTO
    IMBVIT ET CVNCTIS PANDIT AB ASTRA VIAM
PAVPERIBVS LARGVS NVLLI PIETATE SECVNDVS
    ET PRO PLEBE SACRIS PERVIGIL IN PRECIBVS
DOCTRINIS OPIBVS MVRIS EREXERAT ARCES
    VRBS CAPVT ORBIS HONOR INCLYTA ROMA TVAS
MORS CVI NIL NOCVIT CHRISTI QVAE MORTE PEREMPTA EST
    IANVA SED VITAE MOX MELIORIS ERAT
POST PATREM LACRIMANS KAROLVS HAEC CARMINA SCRIBSI
    TV MIHI DVLCIS AMOR TE MODO PLANGO PATER
TV MEMOR ESTO MEI SEQVITVR TE MENS MEA SEMPER
    CVM CHRISTO TENEAS REGNA BEATA POLI
TE CLERVS POPVLVS MAGNO DILEXIT AMORE
    OMNIBVS VNVS AMOR OPTIME PRAESVL ERAS
NOMINA IVNGO SIMVL TITVLIS CLARISSIME NOSTRA
    HADRIANVS KAROLVS REX EGO TVQVE PATER
QVISQVE LEGES VERSVS DEVOTO PECTORE SVPPLEX
    AMBORVM MITIS DIC MISERERE DEVS
HAEC TVA NVNC TENEAT REQVIES CARISSIME MEMBRA
    CVM SNCTIS ANIMA GAVDEAT ALMA DEI
VLTIMA QVIPPE TVAS DONEC TVBA CLAMET IN AVRES
    PRINCIPE CVM PETRO SVRGE VIDERE DM
AVDITVRVS ERIS VOGEM SCIO IVDICIS ALMAM
    INTRA NVNC DOMINI GAVDIA MAGNA TVI
TVNC MEMOR ESTO TVI NATI PATER OPTIME POSCO
    CVM PATRE DIC NATVS PERGAT ET ISTE MEVS
O PETE REGNA PATER FELIX CAELESTIA CHRISTI
    INDE TVVM PRECIBVS AVXILIARE GREGEM
DVM SOL IGNICOMO RVTILVS SPLENDESCIT AB AXE
    LAVS TVA SCE PATER SEMPER IN ORBE MANET

+  SEDIT BEATAE MEMORIAE HADRIANVS PAPA
    ANNOS XXIII MENSES X DIES XVI OBIIT VII KL. IAN.


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