Pope Clement II was the 149th Roman Catholic pope and served from 1046 to 1047. He was the second Pope Clement and one of the only popes born in Germany. This article looks at the life of Clement before and after his time as pope.
Clement II was one of the few popes born to a noble and royal family. Born sometime in 967, he was the son of Count Konrad who ruled over both Morsleben and Hornsbury and Amulrad, his wife. At the age of just 33, he earned the position of Bishop of Bamberg.
Benedict XI, Gregory VI and Sylvester III all belonged to different nobilities and all had claims on the papal role. The Church had issues with all three. Benedict XI had already served as pope twice, and Gregory VI was only the pope because he bribed Benedict to abdicate the position. In the hopes of finding someone who could validate King Henry III as the Holy Roman Emperor, the Church looked for a new man. Upon selecting Clement II, he joined forces with King Henry and accompanied him on many of his travels.
Life as Pope
Immediately after becoming pope, Clement worked with King Henry III to bring peace to both Italy and Germany. Not only did he recognize the King, but he also recognized the queen consort, a woman named Agnes of Aquitaine. He also provided the King with the Roman Patricius, a document that allows the bearer to name the next pope. The duo traveled through Italy as they made decisions regarding different Sees and oversaw disputes. When their journeys took them to Germany, he stopped to make Wiborada an official saint by the name of Saint Wiborada of St. Gail, named after her convent. It was on that trip when he passed away. To honor his life and times, the Church moved his body to Bamberg where he served as a bishop and buried him there.
Quick Facts About Pope Clement II
- Clement II was born circa 967 in Hornburg, which was in Lower Saxony and part of the Holy Roman Empire.
- His birth name was Suidger von Morsleben or Morsleben-Hornsbury.
- Clement II died on October 9, 1047.
- The pope died while traveling through Germany of what some thought was natural causes. It took centuries before research proved that he died of lead sugar poisoning.
- His papacy began on Christmas Day: December 25, 1046.
- The papacy of Clement II ended right after his death in 1047.
- Benedict IX became the next pope and served his third term as pope.
Interesting Facts About Pope Clement II
- Clement II was one of the only men in history to become pope because a former pope abdicated his position. Pope Gregory VI abdicated the papal position due to rumors that he purchased the role and went to Germany.
- Though some still claim history doesn’t know his cause of death, a toxicology report performed in the 20th century found clear evidence that he died of lead poisoning. Historians do not know if he used lead as a medical treatment or if he was deliberately poisoned.
- Following his death, the pope’s body was moved to Bamberg and buried there. He is one of the only popes buried outside of Rome and the only interred in Germany.
- King Henry III picked Clement as the man to become pope. In honor of his recognition, the pope would later crown him the Holy Roman Emperor.
- Clement II was the first pope chosen and named to the position by German forces. He was also one of the only popes born in Germany.