Pope Clement II

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Clement II (1005 – October 9, 1047), born Suidger of Morsleben and Hornburg, was Pope from December 25, 1046 to his death. He was the first in a series of reform-minded popes from Germany.

Born in Hornburg, Lower Saxony, Germany, he was the son of Count Konrad of Morsleben and Hornburg and his wife Amulrad.

In 1040, he became Bishop of Bamberg. In 1046, he accompanied King Henry III on his campaign to Italy and in December, participated in the Council of Sutri, which deposed former Popes Benedict IX and Sylvester III and persuaded Pope Gregory VI to resign. King Henry nominated Suidger for the Papacy and the council elected him. Suidger took the name Clement II. Immediately after his election, King Henry and the new Pope moved to Rome, where Clement crowned Henry III as Holy Roman Emperor.

Clement II's short pontificate, starting with the Roman synod of 1047, initiated an improvement on the state of things in the Roman Church, particularly through enacting decrees against simony. A dispute for precedence between the Sees of Ravenna, Milan, and Aquileia was settled in favour of Ravenna.

His election was later criticized by the reform party within the papal curia, due to the royal involvement and the fact that the new Pope was already bishop of another diocesis. Contrary to later practice, Clement kept his old see, governing both Rome and Bamberg simultaneously.

Clement accompanied the Emperor in a triumphal progress through Southern Italy and placed Benevento under an interdict for refusing to open its gates to them. Proceeding with Henry to Germany, he canonized Wiborada, a nun of St. Gall, martyred by the Huns in 925. On his way back to Rome he died near Pesaro in October 1047. His corpse was transferred back to Bamberg, which he had loved dearly, and interred in the western choir of the Bamberg Cathedral. His is the only tomb of a Pope north of the Alps.

A recent toxicologic examination of his remains confirmed centuries old rumors that the Pope had been poisoned with lead sugar. It is, however, not clear whether he was murdered or whether the lead sugar was used as medicine.

References

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