Pope Adrian II

Pope Adrian II was the 106th pope and the second to bear the name Adrian. He served for five years, a tenure that was notable for several reasons, though the claim that he passed away on the same date as his papal commencement is incorrect. This article provides an overview of his life and papacy.

Early Life

Adrian II was one of the few popes who came from a noble family, who was related to Popes Stephen IV and Sergius II. Born in Rome, he was raised in Italy. Notably, two of his relatives served as popes. Despite being chosen for the papacy twice before, he declined each time, preferring to stay with his family. He married a woman named Stephania in his youth, with whom he shared many happy years and a daughter.

Papal Years

Upon his election, Adrian II was among the oldest ever to assume the papacy, already in his seventies and still living with his wife and daughter.

He moved to the Lateran Palace, bringing his family with him. While his commitment to charity made him a popular choice among some, others doubted his suitability due to his age and perceived reluctance to assume the papal role.

Issues and Problems

Louis II had conflicts with Adrian II’s predecessor, Pope Nicholas I, and was initially apprehensive about Adrian’s leadership, fearing continuity in policy and practice. Louis ordered Arsenius, then bishop of Orte, to closely monitor the pope.

A personal tragedy struck when Eleutherius, Arsenius’s son, developed an obsession with Adrian’s daughter, leading to her forced marriage and the subsequent attack on the Lateran Palace in 868, during which Adrian’s wife and daughter were kidnapped and murdered.

Later Life

Adrian II is credited with significant efforts to reconcile the Eastern and Western Churches, overseeing various groups to foster unity.

He passed away in the winter of 872, leaving a legacy marked by attempts to bridge divides between the Slavic nations and the broader Christian world, including sanctioning missionary work in those regions. John VIII succeeded him shortly after his death.

List of Events in the Life of Pope Adrian II

  • 792: Born in Rome, Italy.
  • 842: Appointed Cardinal-Priest of San Marco and elevated to Cardinal.
  • 13 Nov 867: Elected Pope in Rome, Italy.
  • 14 Dec 867: Ordained as Bishop and began his papacy.
  • 14 Dec 872: Died as Pope.

Quick Facts About Pope Adrian II

  • Born in Rome, Italy, in 792. The exact birth date is uncertain.
  • His birth name is not commonly noted; he was known as Adrian from early on.
  • Died on December 14, 872; the cause of death remains unspecified.
  • His papacy started on November 13, 867, and ended with his death on December 14, 872.
  • John VIII was his successor.

More Interesting Facts About Pope Adrian II

  • Relatives Sergius II and Stephen V also served as popes.
  • In 872, Adrian II crowned Louis II as the Holy Roman Emperor, one of his final acts before his death.
  • Adrian II was unique for being one of the oldest elected popes and for having a wife and child.
  • While there is speculation about additional daughters, records confirm only one daughter was brought to the Lateran Palace.
  • Adrian II’s approval for the use of the Slavic language in services aimed to bring more people to the Church, despite challenges in keeping Bulgarian Catholics within the fold.

List of Popes Named Adrian

There has has been 7 Popes that have taken the name Adrian. Below are links to all of them. Also check out all of the other Popes the begin with the letter A.

Pope Adrian I

Pope Adrian II

Pope Adrian III

Pope Adrian IV

Pope Adrian V

Pope Adrian VI