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Stephen VII
Stephen VII.jpg
Papacy began 3 February, 929
Papacy ended 15 March, 931
Predecessor Leo VI
Successor John XI
Personal details
Birth name Stephanus de Gabrielli ???
Born ???
Rome, Italy
Died 15 March, 931
???
Other Popes named Stephen

Pope Stephen VII (3 February, 929 – 15 March, 931). Stephen was a Roman by birth, the son of Theodemundus, and perhaps a member of the Gabrielli family. He was elected – probably handpicked – by Marozia from the Tusculani family, the unquestioned mistress of Rome during this period, as a stop-gap measure until her own son John was ready to assume the throne of Peter. He had been before cardinal-priest of St Anastasia.

This was what some Catholic sources considered the darkest period of papal history, a period in which clans of the nobility in Rome turned the papacy into a "temporal" fiefdom. Little is known of Stephen's reign, except that he confirmed the privileges of a few religious houses in France and Italy. He may, like several popes in this period, have been assassinated.

The validity of his papacy is disputed. Like his predecessor, Pope Leo VI, he was elected while Pope John X was still alive and in prison. Thus, if John's removal from office was invalid, then neither the election of Leo nor of Stephen was valid and they weren't genuine popes. In any event, they had brief reigns, are not well remembered, and are not likely to have impacted Catholic policy very much. Stephen's reign was brief and few records remain.

References

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Leo VI
Pope
929–931
Succeeded by
John XI







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