(5) 1. ADRIANO (?-885)
Birth. (No date found), Rome. Of the counts of Tusculum (?). Son of Benedetto. His original name was Agapito. He is also listed as Adriano Conti.
Education. (No information found).
Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis or deacon cardinalis of the Holy Roman Church at an unknown date between 882 and 884; his title is not known.
Papacy. Elected pope on Sunday May 17, 884. Took the name Adrian III. His brief pontificate was affected by the continuous factional conflicts in Rome. His policies resemble more those of Pope John VIII, assassinated in 882, than those of his immediate predecessor Pope Marinus I. He followed conciliatory relations with the Eastern Church sending Patriarch Photius of Constantinople the customary letter announcing his election to the papacy. By the bull "Sanctitati tuae", the pope ordered Sigebaud, archbishop of Narbonne, to threaten Bishop Girbertum of Nemausensem with excommunication for having mistreated and abused Abbot Leo and the monks of the monastery of S. Egidius, Amelia; the pope placed the monastery, its monks and properties under the protection of the Apostolic See. By the bull "Quisquis cum dilectione", he confirmed the privileges of the Benedictine monastery of Montier-en-Der, France. He granted a privilege to the church of Grado. Following the violent spirit of his age, Pope Adrian III had a high official of the Lateran palace, Giorgio d'Aventino, who was one of the enemies of Pope John VIII and who had been allowed to return to Rome from his exile by Pope Marinus I, blinded. The pope also had a noble lady, Mariam, widow of another dignitary who had been murdered at the accession of Pope Marinus I, whipped naked through the streets of Rome. He generously assisted the Roman population during a harsh famine. On April 17, 885, in a synod celebrated in the monastery of S. Sisto, Piacenza, built by Empress Angelberga, he confirmed its possessions and privileges by the bull "Omnibus quidem". In June 885, at the request of its abbot, Sunifredo, he confirmed the possessions of the monastery of S. Maria Crassensi by the bull "Convenit apostolico moderamini". In June 885, he was invited by Emperor Charles the Fat to participate in the diet that the monarch had summoned in Worms to secure the succession to the empire of his illegitimate son Bernard; and to address the rising problem of the Saracen power. The pope left Bishop Giovanni of Pavia, imperial representative, in charge of Rome during his absence. He did not create any cardinals.
Death. Mid-September 885, S. Cesalo sul Panaro, near Modena, while on his way to the diet in Worms. His sudden death has been attributed by some sources to assassination. Although his father was still alive, his body was not take to Rome (1). Buried in the apse of the church of the monastery of S. Silvestro di Nonantola, near Modena. In 1914, the remains, which had been buried in the apse for over ten centuries, were placed under the main altar of the crypt, inside a sarcophagus of red marble of Verona with the relics of other saints. Their names are separately inscribed on the different sides of the sarcophagus (2).
Sainthood. Venerated as a saint in Nonantola, his cultus was confirmed by Pope Leo XIII on June 2, 1891. His feast, according to the Roman Martyrology, pro clero Romano, is celebrated on July 8.
Bibliography. Bertolini, Ottorino. "Adriano III, santo." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, II, 37-38; 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. 669-670; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XXXIX; De Angelis, Maria Antonietta. "Adriano III, papa, santo." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 27-28; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. es cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 154, no. 1; Gregorovius, Ferdinando. Le tombe dei papi.. Roma : Edizioni del Centauro, 1931. Seconda edizione italiana riveduta e ampliata da C. Huelsen, p. ; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 112-113; 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, LXVII, LXXV, and 225; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 144-145; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 66; 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, 426-427.
Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, (Britannica); his image and biography, in English; biography, in English; two images and biography, in Italian, Santi e beati; his image and biography, in English, New World Encyclopedia; his image and biography, in Spanish; his image and biography, in Italian; two epistles and biography, in Latin, Documenta Catholica Omnia; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; his engraving, from the same source; another engraving also form the same source; and three reliefs depicting his death, main portal of the abbey of Nonantola.
(1) This is according to Reardon, The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs, p. 66, who adds that this suggests that he was not popular in Rome. Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificum Romanorum : et S.R.E. Cardinalium, I, col. 669, indicates that he was buried in the Vatican basilica and adds that his sudden death caused the tears of all including his father.
(2) This is according to Montini, Le tombe dei papi, p. 145, which indicates that on the side facing the apse says:
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