Agapetus II, POPE, a Roman by birth, elected to the papacy May 10, 946; he reigned, not ingloriously, for ten years, during what has been termed the period of deepest humiliation for the papacy. He proved that the true spiritual dignity of the papacy can be successfully upheld by a saintly and resolute pontiff amid the most untoward surroundings. The temporal power had practically vanished and Rome was ruled by the vigorous Princeps and Senator Albericht, who was the prototype of the later Italian tyrants. Nevertheless, the name and virtues of Agapetus were respected throughout the entire Christian world. He labored incessantly to restore the decadent discipline in churches and cloisters. He succeeded eventually in quieting the disturbances in the metropolitan see of Reims. He supported the Emperor Otto the Great in his plans for the evangelization of the heathens of the North. Seeing no other way of putting an end to anarchy in Italy, he joined with other Italian nobles in persuading the Emperor to make his first expedition into the peninsula. During his lifetime, his successor was virtually appointed in the person of Albericht’s notorious son Octavian, later John XII, whose father forced the Romans to swear that they would elect him as their temporal and spiritual lord upon the demise of Agapetus. The Pope died in August, 956, leaving an unsullied name, and was buried in St. John Lateran.
JAMES F. LOUGHLIN