The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Leo III (795-816)
816 (VIII)


(11) 1. EUGENIO (?-827)

Birth. (No date found), Rome. Son of Boemondo. Of the noble Savelli family.

Education. "... insigne per le doti dello spirito, non meno, che per l'eccelenza della dottrina, e per l'eleganza, e maestà della persona..."; professed as a canon regular (?) (1).

Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis of the title of S. Sabina in 816 (or 817). For a long time, he was the archpriest cardinalis of the Holy Roman Church. After the death of Pope Paschal I, there was a struggle in Rome between the nobility and the clergy that lasted several months nominating rival candidates to the papacy; among the candidates was Cardinal Sisinnio, who was elected at the same time as Cardinal Eugenio and resigned a month later. At the end, Cardinal Eugenio of S. Sabina, the candidate of the nobility, supported by the monk Wala, counselor of Emperor Louis I the Pious was chosen.

Papacy. Elected pope between February and May 824. Took the name Eugenius II. Consecrated before June 6, 824. The pope sent news of his election to Emperor Louis I the Pious through subdeacon Quirino, repeating the usual oath of fidelity and the pact of friendship. In the imperial court in Aachen, the news of the unrest during the pontificates of Pope Leo III and Paschal I had raised fear that unrest might occurred again even after the consecration of the new pope. The emperor felt that it was necessary to remove the causes of discontent and to firmly establish the order in Rome and to make sure that the imperial rights in the Papal States were juridically established. To this end, in late August 824, the emperor sent to Italy his son Lothair, who arrived in Rome in autumn. The first act Lothair performed was a rigorous investigation into all the events that occurred during those pontificates, followed by measures that earned the applause of citizenship: to the families of the executed prisoners were returned all the goods that had been confiscated and the authors of the judgments were sent into exile. The investigation brought to light the evils that plagued the city and the misrule of the clergy; Eugenius, although he saw Lothair directly blaming the papal Curia, could not oppose his energetic behavior, sacrificing even people who were close to him at the time of his election; the important thing then was to reestablish the peace in the Papal States. To remedy the disastrous conditions of the papal administration in Rome, on November 11 of that year, in the basilica of St. Peter, Lothair promulgated a famous constitution, to fix the legal relationship of the Papal States with the empire and to defend the rights of the citizens. The Constitutio Romana of 824 was composed of nine items and affirmed that the rights of all persons under the protection of the emperor and the pope were inviolable; and forbade the depredations in Campagna and in the lands owned by the Church; it also ordered that the entire papal administration be submitted to a routine monitoring by two envoys, one imperial and the other papal, both living in Rome, who were to report annually to the emperor about the work done by each individual state official. Finally, the constitution modified the form of electing the pope by restoring the ancient tradition, suspended since Pope Stephen III's synod of 769, by which the people of Rome as well as the clergy took part in papal elections, stipulating that before being consecrated the pope-elect should take an oath of loyalty to the emperor before the imperial legate (2). These provisions represented the zenith of imperial power over the Papal States. All of the concessions granted a few years earlier by the Pactum Ludovicianum were annulled and in practice, the emperor of the West substituted that of the East by affirming his full sovereignty over the pope in the exercise of his administrative and legal powers in the Papal States. In 824, the new Byzantine emperor, Michael II, the Stutterer who, after having restored the old laws against the worship of images, tried to involve in the question Emperor Louis I the Pious, by sending him an embassy. The aim was to cause him to influence Pope Eugenius II to allow the dissemination of iconoclasm in the West. Emperor Louis acted with great diplomacy, unusual for an emperor, asking the pope permission to obtain an opinion on the matter from the Frankish bishops for the Byzantines. The imperial was a recognition the papal authority on matters purely ecclesiastical, and the pope willingly consented. On November 1, 825 was celebrated in Paris a conference of Frankish, who reiterated the opinion already expressed in the time of Charlemagne, fundamentally opposing the Second Council of Nicaea of 787, in which the question had been settled in favor of image veneration (not adoration); and this time with the addition of a statement which ignored the pope on the subject in question, according to them, the pope had to adhere to their "truth for protecting error and superstition." The emperor did not feel imposing on the pope the results of the conference and thus gave new proof of his character "pious", recognizing in practice the prestige of the bishop of Rome. He just sent a summary of the work of the bishops to Pope Eugene II, leaving to him the decision on each subject. The response of the pope is not known but what was well known was that the pope firmly insisted that the question had been settled by the Council of Nicaea. Shortly after, the pontiff presided over the Roman Synod of November 14 and 15, 826, attended by sixty two bishops. In the council there was no discussion of the issue of iconoclasm, because obviously on it already been given a definite opinion. There were thirty-eight conciliar canons of ecclesiastical law. Among others, they contained provisions on the education of priests; the living standards of secular priests and monks; the election of bishops and their duties; simony, Sunday observance and marriage. The council also stipulated that in all churches and wherever there was need, teaching of the letters in order to explain the Holy Scriptures be provided. The council also showed how the papacy took on new energy in the direction of the ecclesiastical reform, already exercised by Charlemagne with great zeal. It was a big set back to the partial secularization of the Papal States attempted by Lothair and to the imperial interference in ecclesiastical matters. The pope followed with particular attention the mission in Scandinavia, which earlier Emperor Louis I the Pious and Pope Paschal I had entrusted to Archbishop Ebbo of Reims. Pope Eugenius II confirmed and approved the decision taken by the emperor in 826, adding to the mission monk Ansgar, the 'Apostle of the North " and his companions. Pope Eugenius II created eight cardinals in three promotions.

Death. August 827, Rome. Buried in St. Peter's basilica. His tomb was destroyed during the demolition of the old basilica and the construction of the new one in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Bibliography. Beck, Henry G. J. "Eugene II, Pope." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Prepared by an editorial staff at the Catholic University of America. 19 vols. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1967-1996, 5, 625; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 1, 45 and 48-49; 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. 580 and 591-594; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. 127; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 150, no. 12; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 101-102; 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, II, LXVI, LXXV, 69-70; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 136, no. 100; Petruzzi, Caterina. "Eugenio II, papa." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 468-469; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 62; 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, 320-322; Sansterre, Jean Marie. "Eugenio II." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, .

Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, (Britannica); his image and biography, in English; biography, in English; biography by Jean-Marie Sansterre, in Italian, Enciclopedia dei papi, Treccani; his image and biography, in Italian; biography, in German, Biographisch-Bibliographischen Kirchenlexikons; his engraving, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; 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; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; and another engraving, also fron the same source.

(1) This is according to Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa, I, pt. 1, 45: "distinguished for the gifts of the spirit, not less, than for the excellence of the doctrine, and for the elegance and majesty of the person"; none of the other sources consulted mention his joining the canons regular.
(2) "Io prometto per Dio Onnipotente, per questi quattro sacri Vangeli, per questa croce del Signor Nostro Gesù Cristo e per il corpo del Beatissimo Pietro, principe degli apostoli che da questo giorno in poi sarr fedele al nostri signori imperatori Ludovico e Lotario per tutti i giorni della mia vita, secondo le mie forze e il mio intelletto, senza frode e malanimo, salva la fede che ho promesso al signore apostolico; e che non consentirò secondo le forze e l'intelletto mio, che in questa sede romana l'elezione del pontefice non sia fatta secondo la giustizia e il diritto canonico, e che non consentirò che colui che sarà stato eletto con la mia approvazione venga consacrato prima ch'egli, in presenza del messo imperiale e del popolo, abbia prestato lo stesso giuramento che il pontefice Eugenio, spontaneamente e per la salute di tutti ha per iscritto fatto." (I promise to Almighty God, for these four holy Gospels, this cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the body of the most blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, that from this day forward to be loyal to our lord the Emperors Lothair and Louis for all the days of my life, in my strength and my intellect, without fraud and malice, saving the faith that I promised the Lord apostolic; and that will not permit, according to my strength and intellect, which in this Roman See the election of the pontiff is not made in accordance with justice and canon law, and that will not allow that the one elected with my approval be consecrated, in the presence of the imperial envoy and the people, before he has taken the same oath that Pope Eugenius, spontaneously and for the good of all writing has taken.)


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