Gregory V (Pope)

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Gregor V. , previously Brun (o) von Kärnten (* 972 presumably in Stainach im Ennstal , Duchy of Baiern ; † February 18, 999 in Rome ), was Pope from 996 to 999. He came from the Salier dynasty and was urged from Otto III. raised to pope. Due to his origins in the later Duchy of Carinthia, he is sometimes referred to as the first German to take the papal chair; however, German national consciousness did not gradually develop until centuries later.


Pope Gregory V crowns Otto III. (from the Pope-Kaiser-Chronik of Martin von Troppau , around 1460)
Sarcophagus of Gregory V

Bruno von Kärnten was born in 972 as the second son from the marriage of Otto von Wormsgau (from 978 Duke of Kärnten) and Judith von Kärnten . He was thus a great-grandson of Emperor Otto the Great . Stainach is passed down as the birthplace of the future Pope in what is now Styria , where his father apparently owned a mansion.

In Worms , Bruno was trained by Archbishop Willigis of Mainz ; one of his teachers was the Calabrian- born Greek Johannes Philagathos , who later became his antipope in Rome. First he worked as a chaplain in Worms, then in 996, as a royal court chaplain, together with Archbishop Willigis and Bishop Hildebold , he accompanied his relatives to King Otto III. on his first trip to Rome. Pope John XV had called the king to help against the Roman city nobility. On the way, the news of the Pope's death arrived.

When he arrived in Rome, the cleric Bruno, who was largely related to the Salians, was appointed by Otto III. elected Pope on May 3, 996 by the local clergy and people. He called himself Gregor V. On the day of the election, Gregory and the future emperor sat in court over the ringleaders of the Roman Fronde. The leader, Crescentius I. Nomentanus , was pardoned from the death penalty at the request of the new Pope, whereupon he swore the emperor's oath of allegiance. At the age of only 24, Gregory V was one of the youngest popes in church history. A few weeks after his election, he crowned Otto III. on May 21, 996 as Roman emperor .

The Roman nobility rejected the Pope appointed by the emperor. Before Bruno's appointment, the occupation of the papal chair was primarily the subject of political intrigues among the Roman city nobility. As Otto III. Left Rome in 997, Crescentius broke his oath of allegiance and, with the help of the Byzantines , let the learned diplomat Johannes Philagathos become antipope John XVI. to rise against the strangers. Without the protection of the emperor, Gregory V had to flee to Spoleto . With Otto's support, however, he returned to Rome in 998; the antipope John fled to the Campagna . He was discovered in a tower, horribly mistreated, disfigured and brought to Rome blinded . The emperor had the former teacher Brunos, without eyes, ears, nose and tongue, but wrapped in papal robes, led on a donkey in a shameful procession through Rome. At the instigation of Pope Gregory, John was tried before a synod and formally dismissed. He was then brought before the crowd again on the donkey and deported to a monastery, where he died a few years later. Crescentius I. Nomentanus was beheaded as the instigator at the Castel Sant'Angelo .

According to the understanding of the time, the mutilation made John unfit for liturgy, which eliminated him once and for all as an antipope. The public display of the mutilated was done to publicize the unsuitability for the liturgy and to deter imitators. The harsh punishment also provoked outrage, among other things. by a hermit venerated as a saint , whom Emperor Otto had brought into his surroundings. Before the gruesome spectacle in Rome, the almost ninety-year-old old man Nilus von Rossano , who had warned the antipope the year before against being too ambitious , stepped before the emperor and pope to ask for mercy for the fallen. When both refused, the indignant saint loudly threatened God's judgment .

When the French King Robert the Pious , a son of Hugo Capet , married a distant relative without ecclesiastical permission, Gregory threatened him with excommunication and a sharp conflict arose, which after Gregory's death even resulted in a temporary split in the church in 1003/1004 and sometimes is understood as one of the first interdicts in the history of canon law. The conflict joins the virulent consequences of the Reims schism (925-948), which were still virulent at the time of Robert's co- rule and early sole government , which could only be finally resolved in 997 through the mediation of the Cluniac abbot Abbo von Fleury against Gregory V. Abbo was friends with Bruno von Carinthia and they had corresponded with each other for many years.

The Pope's epitaph indicates that he preached not only in Latin, but also in Frankish and in the ancient Italian-Roman vernacular ("lingua vulgaris") used in Rome .

Gregor died, probably suffering from malaria , on February 18, 999 in Rome at the age of 27. It is also believed that he was poisoned, but this is considered unlikely. He is buried in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome at the side of Otto II , who died and was buried there as the only Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire .


Web links

Commons : Gregory V.  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. For example Eva-Maria Jung-Inglessis : The German Popes. Your life, your work, your time. St. Benno Verlag , Leipzig 2006; the like. Tilman Struve : Gregor V . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA) . tape 4 . Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1989, ISBN 3-7608-8904-2 , Sp. 1668 .
  2. ^ A b c Hansmartin Schwarzmaier : From Speyer to Rome. Waystations and traces of life of the Salians. Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1991, ISBN 3-7995-4132-2 .
predecessor Office successor
John XV Pope
New Years Eve II.