Infographic. Pope Gregory V: 15 interesting facts

Pope Gregory V infographic
15 interesting facts about Pope Gregory V

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15 interesting facts about Pope Gregory V you probably didn’t know, from his birth to his Papacy. Although his rule was short, it was full of events:

#1 Born in 972, his original name was Bruno of Carinthia(German: Brun von Kärnten).

#2 He was the grandson of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I and cousin to Emperor Otto III. His relation with his cousin will later help him to ascend to the throne of Saint Peter

#3 When Otto III stopped in Ravenna for a few days in April 996, a Roman embassy arrived to inform him of the death of Pope John XV. After consulting with his closest advisors, Otto III appointed his cousin and chaplain Bruno as a candidate for the throne and therefore ordered Archbishop and Archbishop Willigis of Mainz and Bishop Ildebaldo of Worms to accompany him to Rome. There, the candidate of Otto III was greeted with great honors, chosen by clergy and people, and consecrated in early May as Pope Gregory V.

#4 He was the first German Pope in the history of the Papal States, and one of the youngest to ascend the throne of St.Peter, he was only 24 years old when he became Pope.

#5 His first important act as Pope was the coronation on May 21, 996 of his cousin Otto III as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

#6 After emperor Otto III left Rome early in 997, Crescentius I Nomentanus, leader of the most important aristocratic family in the city, violated his oath of allegiance to the Pope and Emperor; With the help of his supporters, Crescentius organized a rebellion in the city and took control over Rome. Without imperial protection, Gregory was helpless at the mercy of the Crescent and had to flee from Rome to the town of Spoleto.

#7 Taking advantage of Gregory V’s escape, Crescentius the Younger sought to increase his legitimacy by appointing Giovanni Filagato as anti-Pope John XVI.

#8 However, the plans of Crescentius and the anti-Pope John XVI backfired when, following a synod in February 997, held in Pavia, Gregory V was not only reconfirmed as Pope, but he also excommunicated both Crescentius and anti-Pope John XVI.

#9 During the same Synod in Pavia, Gregory V took another major decision. He threatened the King of France with ex-communication if he didn’t repudiate his marriage with Bertha, who was related to him by blood. After some opposition, the King of France yielded to the Papal authority.

#10 With the military and political support of his cousin Otto III, Gregory V returned to Rome in 998.

#11 Upon his return, anti-Pope John XVI fled the city in panic and Crescentius barricaded himself in the castle of Sant’ Angelo.

#12 Unfortunately for anti-Pope John XVI, he was followed by the imperial troops, captured, mutilated(his nose, ears, and tongue were cut), and then publicly humiliated through the streets of Rome. His life was spared by the Pope and the Emperor and he was sent to the German Monastery of Fulda, where he spent the rest of his life until 1013.

#13 However, the Emperor had no mercy for Crescentius, after a short siege of the castle of Saint ‘Angelo, the aristocratic noble was captured and hanged to serve as an example.

#14 During the rest of his Papacy, Gregory V granted many privileges to the German monasteries.

#15 Gregory V died suddenly on 18 February, 999. He is buried near Pope Pelagius in St. Peter’s Basilica.


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