The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Leo IV (847-855)
847 (I)


(1) 1. PIETRO? (?-?)

Birth. (No date or place found).

Education. (No information found).

Cardinalate. Bishop cardinalis of Frascati in 847 (1). Consecrated (no information found).

Death. (No date or place found). Buried (no information found).

Bibliography. Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. 26; "Essai de liste générale dLes cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 151, no. 6; Gams, Pius Bonifatius. Series episcoporum Ecclesiae catholicae. 3 v. in 1. Graz : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1957, p. XIX.

(1) There are doubts among the sources about his dates and even his name, which some say is unknown and list him as N.N. and anonymous. He may be the same as Cardinal Pietro (803).

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(2) 2. ANASTASIO (ca. 810/817-between 877/879)

Birth. Ca. 810/817, Rome. He was called il Bibliotecario or Bibliothecarius. Nephew of the powerful Bishop Arsenio of Orte. His name is also listed as Anastàsio and Anastasius.

Education. He obtained a thorough knowledge of the Greek language and culture, probably from Greek monks in Rome.

Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis of the title of S. Marcello in 847. Shortly after having been created cardinal, because of strong disagreement with the pope, he abandoned his title, left Rome, sought refuge under Emperor Louis II, intrigued against the pope and refused to return to Rome after the pope had repeatedly asked him to do so. He was deposed, anathematized and excommunicated in the Council of Rome on December 16, 850; in Ravenna on May 29, 853; and again in Rome on December 8, 853, when he was reduced to the lay state for having abandoned his see.

Antipapacy. At the death of Pope Leo IV, after the canonical election of his successor, Pope Benedict III, but before the new pope had obtained the imperial approval, necessary to receive consecration, Bishop Arsenio of Orte and the Frankish party, with the emperor's support, tried to get Anastasius named pope. The Roman envoys bringing the document announcing the papal election of Benedict III to Emperor Louis II were met by Bishop Arsenio at Gubbio and convinced to support Anastasio's nomination to the papacy, rejecting that of Benedict. The irregular election took place in Orte on September 21, 855. He kept his own name as (Antipope) Anastasio III. The antipope, in the company of the imperial representatives then went to Rome, forcibly installed himself at the Lateran palace, and imprisoned Pope Benedict III. The antipope's actions caused the Romans to rebel against him and soon it was clear that Anastasius III did not have any popular support. Besides, his status as an excommunicated layman demonstrated that he was totally unacceptable as Roman pontiff. The bishops of Ostia and Albano, who traditionally consecrated the new pope (together with the bishop of Porto) refused to perform the ceremony. Then, the imperial representatives had to accept that the Roman clergy and people did not accept Anastasius and wanted the legitimate pope consecrated and installed. On the following September 24, Anastasius was stripped of the papal insignias and expelled from the Lateran palace. The imperial envoys obtained from Pope Benedict III the reduction of Anastasius to the lay state and his confinement in the monastery of S.Maria in Trastevere, instead of a severe punishment. Reconciled with Pope Nicholas I in 858, he became his secretary and legate. Pope Adrian II lifted his suspension as priest and in 867 named him Librarian of the Roman Church, hence his nickname Bibliotecario. Involved, perhaps without guilt in the murder of Eleuterio's son Arsenio, who had killed his wife and daughter of the pope, Anastasio was again reduced, but briefly, to the lay state in 868. Named nuncio of Emperor Louis II in Constantinople, he played an important political role in the Eighth Ecumenical Council. Among his works are the translation of the Greek original of the acts of the VII Council (Nicea) and the VIII (Constantinople); the Collectanea (documents about the monothelist controversy (1) and Pope Honorius I) and lives of the saints; and compiled the Chronographia tripartita, which is a compilation of the Greek works of Teofane, Niceforo di Costantinopoli and Giorgio Sincello. He probably wrote, at least in part, the life of Pope Nicholas I in Liber Pontificalis (for a long time the writing of the entire Liber was attributed to him); he, perhaps, also wrote in the work part of the life of Pope Adrian II. Some sources mistakenly thought that the ambitious and rebellious cardinal and the secretary and librarian of the Church were two different persons.

Death. Between May 29, 877, the last official mention of him, and March 29, 879, when Zaccaria of Anagni is first mentioned as librarian of the Holy Roman Church, in Rome. Buried (no information found).

Bibliography. Arnaldi, Girolamo. "Anastasio Bibliotecario, antipapa." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, I, 735-746; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 1, 55-56; 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. 625, no. III; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XXXIX and 145; Del Re, Niccolò. "Anastasio, il Bibliotecario, antipapa." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 56; Devos, Paul. "Anastasius the Librarian." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Prepared by an editorial staff at the Catholic University of America. 19 vols. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1967-1996, I, 480-481; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 151-152, no. 7; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 106-107; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 64; 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, 339, 340, 341, 368 and 376.

Links. Biography, in Enlish, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, (Britannica); his image and biography, in English, Archelaos; biography, in English; biography, in English, Encyclopædia Orbis Latini; biography, in English, New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge; biography, in Italian, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani; biography, in Italian; biography, in German, Biographisch-Bibliographischen Kirchenlexikon; his image, Liber Chronicarum by Hartmannus Schedel, 1493; his works, Documenta Catholica Omnia.

(1) Monothelism was a 7th century heresy that admitted that Christ had two natures, one divine and one human, but said that He only had one will, divine.

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