The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
John XI (931-936)
At an unknown date between 931 and 936


(1) 1. LEONE (?-939)

Birth. (No date found), Rome. Son of Cristoforo. He perhaps was a brother of Pope Leo VI.

Education. He probably entered the Order of Saint Benedict (Benedictines) (1).

Priesthood. Ordained (no further information found).

Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis of the title of S. Sisto in a promotion celebrated at an unknown date between 931 and 936 (2). He owed his promotion to the papacy to Alberico II, who had proclaimed himself princeps atque Senator omnium Romanorum, and who governed Rome, from 932 until 954, with absolute power not allowing the pope other than spiritual power. Some sources indicate that there is no evidence of his formal election to the papacy. The fact that he was a Benedictine may have recommended him to Alberico II, who was devout and deeply interested in monasticism and monastic reform.

Papacy. Elected pope on January 3 or 9, 936. Took the name Leo VII. He accepted the promotion to the papacy reluctantly. The contemporary historian Flodoard of Reims, who visited and dined with the new pope in 936, formed a very positive impression of his character, wisdom, and personal warmth. He was seriously interested in promoting ecclesiastical and moral reform. Accordingly, at the outset of his pontificate he brought Abbot Odo, founder of the monastery of Cluny and future saint, to Rome, to promote a spiritual revival; Abbot Odo took over the leadership of the monastery of S. Paolo fuori le mura, Rome; at the pontiff's request, the abbot negotiated the peace between Alberico II and the former king of Italy, Ugo d'Arles, who had been expelled from Rome by the former in 932 and who had been persistently trying to recover his throne. In 937, the pope confirmed the rights of the restored abbey of Subiaco; and the following year, those of the monasteries of Cluny and Déols, which had been granted by Pope John XI; the pope also granted similar privileges to the revived abbey of Gorze, near Metz, Lorraine. He sent the pallium to Archbishop Adaldag of Bremen-Hamburg, around 937; and named Archbishop Friedrich of Mainz apostolic vicar and legate for all Germany, charging him with the reform of the clergy of all ranks; at the same time, he prohibited Archbishop Friedrich to force the conversion of the Jews to Christianity, but allowed their expulsion from cities unless they accepted the Christian faith.

Death. July 13, 939, Rome. 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. 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. 705-708; Cristofori, Francesco. Cronotasi dei cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888, p. XL; "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. 1; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 123-124; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, pp. 154 and 442, appendix III A "Papi sepolti nell'antiva Basilica Vaticana; Piazzoni, Ambrogio. "Leone VII." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, II, 72-74; 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, 455-457.

Webgraphy. Biography, in English The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, Encyclopaedia Britannica; biography, in English; biosgraphy, in German, Die Genealogie Mittelalter; his image and biography, in Italian; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, iStockphoto; his engraving, in color; 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; and his effigy on a medal.

(1) This is according to Kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes, p. 123; and his second biography in English (Britannica), linked above.
(2) This is according to all the sources consulted except "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux des 10 premiers siècles". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926, p. 156, no. 1, which says that he was cardinal deacon.


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