Pope Gregory V

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Gregory V, né §'Bruno (ca. 972 - February 18, 999), pope (May 3, 996 - February 18, 999), son of Otto, Duke of Carinthia and a grandson of the emperor Otto I the Great, succeeded John XV, when only twenty-four years of age. He was the chaplain of his cousin, Emperor Otto III, who presented him as candidate.

Gregory was the first German pope. Sometimes Pope Boniface II (530-532) is considered the first German pope, although he was an Ostrogoth.

Politically he acted consistently as the emperor's representative in Rome and granted many exceptional privileges to monasteries within the Holy Roman Empire. One of his first acts was to crown Otto emperor May 21 996. Together they held a synod a few days after Otto's coronation, in which Arnulf was ordered to be restored to the See of Reims, and Gerbert, the future Pope Sylvester II, was condemned as an intruder. Robert II of France, who had been insisting on his right to appoint bishops, was ultimately forced to back down, and ultimately also to put aside his wife Bertha, by the rigorous enforcement of a sentence of excommunication on the kingdom.

Until the council of Pavia (997) Gregory had a rival in the person of the antipope John XVI, whom Crescentius and the nobles of Rome had chosen, in revolt against the will of the youthful emperor Otto III, Gregory's cousin. The revolt of Crescentius was decisively suppressed by Otto III, who marched upon Rome. The antipope fled, and Crescentius shut himself up in the Castle of Sant' Angelo. The emperor's troops pursued the antipope, captured him, cut off his nose and ears, cut out his tongue, blinded him, and publicly degraded him before the emperor and pope. He was sent to the monastery of Fulda, in Germany, where he lived until 1013. The castle of Sant' Angelo was besieged, and when it was taken, Crescentius was hanged upon its walls (998).

Gregory died suddenly, and not without suspicion of foul play, on February 18, 999. His successor was Gerbert, who took the name Sylvester II.



Preceded by:
John XV
Pope
996–999
Succeeded by:
Silvester II

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