Pope Eugene III was the 167th pope and the third to pick the name Eugene. He is also known as the Blessed Pope and for his connection to the Second Crusade. This article looks at the life of Pope Eugene III.
Known as Bernardo, the future pope was born in Pisa somewhere around 1080. Records do not show his mother but list his father as Godius. Though some believe he belonged to a noble family, others claim that he came from a family who did not have money, which would explain his humble nature. Records show that he worked in a Pisa church as a canon in 1106 and that he later became subdeacon in the same church. Pope Innocent II ordained him as a priest in the 1130s, which led to Bernardo joining the Cistercian Order.
Pope Lucius II died on February 15, 1145, when he was hit in the head by a heavy rock. That same day, cardinals elected Bernardo as the next pope. He chose the name Pope Eugene III and began his reign outside of Rome. Problems between the Roman Senate and the clergy made the city unstable. Fearing that he might die in the same way as the last pope, Eugene II agreed to travel to Farfa where he was consecrated.
To help the public, Pope Eugene III asked leaders in Tivoli and other cities to side with the Church. He spent several months traveling through Italy before finally making his way to France. It was there that he announced the beginning of the Second Crusade. It was only after it began that he returned to Italy, though he never resided in Rome.
Pope Eugene III lived in a fortress outside of Rome and asked the King of Sicily to help him gain control of the city. Though the Holy Roman Emperor and other leaders agreed to help, he passed away before they could arrive. Anastasius IV inherited a papacy marred by Roman revolt and took on the role just one day later. He helped oversee the internment of Pope Eugene III in the Vatican.
Quick Facts About Pope Eugene III
- He was born circa 1080 in Pisa, which was both parts of the Republic of Pisa and the Holy Roman Empire. Some records list his birthplace as Montemagno.
- The pope’s birth name was Bernardo. Most records claim that he belonged to the Paganelli di Montemagno family.
- The pope died on July 8, 1153.
- His death was attributed to natural causes. He was in Tivoli when he passed away.
- The papacy of Pope Eugene III began on February 15, 1145.
- His papacy ended when Eugene III passed away in 1153.
- Anasatius IV succeeded him as pope four days later.
Interesting Facts About Pope Eugene III
- After his death, the Church had Eugene III interned in a tomb in the Vatican. It wasn’t long after his burial that followers claimed to experience miracles there.
- Though he is not saint, Eugene III was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1872. This the first step in the canonization process and allows the Church to make him a saint if he meets all standards later.
- Eugene III was pope for eight years and 143 days. He is one of the only popes to never live in Rome. Due to fighting and opposite in the city, he did not even take the position there.
- He is also known as Blessed Pope Eugene III due to the miracles he performed after dying and for the blessings he gave while alive.
- The consecration of Pope Eugene III appears in a medieval painting of the same name.