Pope Benedict VIII

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Benedict VIII (birth date unknown – died April 9, 1024), born Theophylactus, Pope from 1012 to 1024, of the noble family of the counts of Tusculum (son of Gregory, Count of Tusculum, and Maria, and brother of future Pope John XIX), descended from Theophylact, Count of Tusculum like his predecessor Pope Benedict VI (973–974).

Benedict VIII was opposed by an antipope, Gregory VI (1012), who compelled him to flee Rome. He was restored by Henry II of Germany (1002–24), whom he crowned Emperor on February 14, 1014, and for his entire pontificate remained on good terms with him. In Benedict VIII's pontificate the Saracens renewed their attacks on the southern coasts of Europe, and effected a settlement in Sardinia. The Normans also then began to settle in Italy. The Pope promoted peace in Italy by allying himself with the Normans, orchestrating the defeat of the Saracens in Sardinia, and subjugating the Crescentii. In 1022, he held a synod at Pavia with the Emperor to restrain simony and incontinence of the clergy. The reformation effected by the monastery of Cluny was supported by him, and he was a friend of its abbot, St. Odilo.

In 1020, Benedict VIII travelled to Germany to confer with Henry II about the renewed Byzantine menace in the Mezzogiorno. Arriving at Bamberg at Eastertide, he consecrated the new cathedral there, obtained a charter from Henry II confirming the donations of Charlemagne (768–814) and Otto the Great (936–973), and visited the monastery of Fulda. He convinced the Emperor to lead an expedition into the south of Italy and subordinate his vassals who had defected to Greek authority.

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