The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
John X (914-928)
At an unknown date between 914 and 928


(4) 1. LEONE (?-928/929)

Birth. (No date found), Rome. Of an upper-class family. Son of Primicerius Cristoforo, who occupied the post during the pontificate of Pope John VIII.

Education. (No information found).

Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis of the title of S. Susanna in a promotion celebrated at an unknown date between 914 and 928 (1). He was elected pope at an old age by the will of Marozia, while the deposed Pope John X languished as a prisoner in Castello Sant'Angelo, but who survived him. The Romans believed that the deposed pope had died and Marozia presented Cardinal Leone as Pope John X's choice to succeed him.

Papacy. Elected pope in May, June or July 928. Took the name Leo VI. He was a docile instrument of Marozia during the brief duration of his pontificate, which lasted seven months and five days (2). He wrote a letter to Bishops Formino of Zara, Gregorio of Nona and other bishops of Dalmatia and Croatia, asking them to respect the rights of their Archbishop Giovanni of Spalato, to whom he had granted the pallium. He intimated the bishops of the island of Lussino, of Arba and of Ragusa to be content with the territories of their respective dioceses; and to allow Gregorio, bishop of the Croatians, to administer the see of Scardona.

Death. December 928 or January or February 929, possibly murdered on orders of Marozia so that her son could become Pope John XI, Rome (3). Buried in the pavement of the portico of the Vatican 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. Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1792, I, pt. 1, 76; 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. 701-702; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XL; Del Re, Niccolò. "Leone VI, papa." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 645-646; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1927, p. 156, no. 2; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 122; 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, LXIX and 242, no. CXXVI; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, pp. 153 and 442, appendix III A "Papi sepolti nell'antiva Basilica Vaticana; Piazzoni, Ambrogio M. "Leone VI." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, II, 68-69; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 71; 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, 453.

Links. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in Italian; biography, in English; biography, in German; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, iStockphoto; his engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; another engraving, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; and another engraving from the same source.

(1) "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926, p. 156, no. 1, says that Cardinal Leone (914) may be the same as this Cardinal Leone.
(2) This is according to Regesta pontificum Romanorum, I, 453. Le Liber pontificalis, II, 242, no. CXXVI, says that his pontificate lasted six months and fifteen days. There are numerous discrepancies concerning the date of his election to the papacy and the date of his death among the sources consulted. The Vatican's official list of popes, in Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 2009 (città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2009), p. 12*, says that he was elected in May or June 928 and died in December 928 or January 929. Liudprand, Bishop of Cremona, d. ca. 972, The complete works of Liudprand of Cremona (Translated with an introduction and notes by Paolo Squatriti. Washington, D.C. : Catholic University of America Press, 2007. (Medieval texts in translation; Variation: Medieval texts in translation)), p. 96, par. 48, passes from Pope John X to Pope John XI without mentioning the pontificates of Pope Leo VI and Pope Stephen VII (VIII).
(3) This is according to Reardon, The deaths of the popes, p. 71. None of the other sources consulted mention it.


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