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Formosus (* approx. 816 ; † April 4, 896 in Rome ) was Pope between 891 and 896 .

Ascent within the church (from 864)

Formosus, 75 at the time of his election, had previously been Bishop of Porto-Santa Rufina . In 864 he took over the role of legate to the Bulgarians and, according to Boris I, was to become the first metropolitan of Bulgaria. Politically, however, the establishment of the metropolitan state could not be implemented. In the following years he took on several diplomatic missions for the popes. In 875 he negotiated with Charles the Bald about his imperial coronation. A year later, Pope John VIII removed Formosus from his bishopric because he had participated in a conspiracy. A few years later he was reinstated by Marinus I and served again as papal advisor.

Election as Pope, coronations of emperors, conflicts with the city nobility (891–896)

On October 6, 891, Formosus became Pope without major electoral conflicts. He repeated probably reluctantly imperial coronation of Guy of Spoleto and crowned his son, the Count Lambert of Spoleto to co-emperor , but these were soon so powerful that Formosus the East Frankish king Arnulf of Carinthia called to help. He conquered Rome and became emperor himself in 896. In addition, Formosus came into conflict with the Roman city nobility. Formosus died on April 4, 896.

Synod of corpses (897), dispute over his memory

After the short term of office of Boniface VI. said the Spoleto-friendly Stephan VI. in January 897 judged the body of Formosus (see synod of bodies ) because of his alleged usurpation of the papal throne. The oath fingers were amputated from the corpse and it was thrown into the Tiber , but in 897, Stephen's successor Theodor II revoked the resolutions of the funeral synod and left Formosus, whose body had been recovered from the Tiber by his supporters, back in the Vatican necropolis to bury. Under Pope Sergius III. , a follower of Stephen VI, the party of Formosus was persecuted again. After ten years in the grave, he had Formosus' remains exhumed a second time, severed the remaining fingers of the oath hand and then thrown the body again into the Tiber. However, it is said to have got caught in a fisherman's net and was later transferred to Alt-St. Peter brought back and buried there for the third time.


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predecessor Office successor
Stephan V. Pope
Boniface VI.
Rodoaldo Bishop of Porto
Walpertus Bishop of Porto