Pope Gregory IV – Biography & Facts

pope gregory iv image

Pope Gregory IV was the 101st pope and the fourth to use the name Gregory, which he adapted from his birth name. He was pope for more than 16 years and known for intervening in feuds between Louis the Pious and his family. This article looks at those feuds and some of his other accomplishments.

Early Life

Born circa 790, Gregorius was the son of a man named John and grew up around the Roman Catholic Church. He was one of the few clergymen at the time interested in learning and education. Pope Paschal I consecrated the young man as a priest. He later worked in the Basilica of St. Mark in Rome and later became a cardinal priest. It was while working in this position that other cardinals chose him as the pope following the death of Pope Valentine.

Papal Choice

Unlike his predecessors, Gregorius did not believe that he was the right choice as the next pope. The cardinals found him working in the Basilica of Saints Cosmas and Damian. They led him to Lateran Palace and officially named him the pope elect just days after Pope Valentine‘s death. It wasn’t until December that he officially became pope. It took another few months before Emperor Louis agreed that he was pope.

Disputes and Later Years

During his more than 16 year reign, Pope Gregory IV oversaw disputes between the Holy Roman Emperor and his sons. He often sided with Emperor Louis and requested that the city observe All Saints’ Day and that clergymen learn music, two things that the emperor wanted.

The pope was also on hand to witness the disputes that led to the end of the Carolingians. During his later years, Gregory IV became concerned with some of the churches in Rome and launched efforts to restore those buildings. Some of the later problems he had with the emperor occurred because the pope gave away Roman churches. Sergius II became the next pope on the same day that Gregory IV died in 844.

Quick Facts About Pope Gregory IV

  • He was born circa 790 in Rome during the city’s time as one of the Papal States.
  • His birth name was Gregorius. Some records list his birth name as Gregorio.
  • The pope died on January 25, 844.
  • Though Pope Gregory IV has no official cause of death listed, he likely died of natural causes.
  • He became pope in October of 827 after Pope Valentine’s death but was not consecrated until December 20 of that year.
  • The papacy of Pope Gregory IV when he died in 844.
  • Sergius II became pope on the same day that Gregory IV died.

Interesting Facts About Pope Gregory IV

  • Gregory IV is one of the only popes in history who believed they were not worthy as the Bishop of Rome. It took weeks for the cardinals to locate and appoint him.

  • Though some of the churches he restored are no longer standing, he completed work on the Basilica of San Marco. This Roman building has a mosaic that he oversaw on its ceiling. The basilica is also known as St. Mark’s.

  • Louis and Pepin is a historic illustration that shows a meeting between the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor.

  • A group of Roman nobles selected Gregory IV as the next pope and worked with the cardinals to secure his election. They believed that he was a mild man and would not protest their attempts to gain control of the city.

  • The Old St. Peter’s Basilica served as the final resting place of Pope Gregory IV. There are no records to show what happened to his tomb after the Church rebuilt the basilica.

See the full list of Popes throughout history here.