Pope Honorius II served as pontiff of the Catholic Church during the years of 1124 A.D. through 1130 A.D. He rose from a modest background, but thanks to his outstanding capabilities and clear intelligence he quickly rose through the ranks of the church hierarchy. Honorius II became associated with the powerful Roman Frangipani family, ensuring his election to the papacy in 1124.
Brief History and Background of Pope Honorius II
Early Career and Papal Election of Pope Honorius II
The given name of Pope Honorius II at birth was Lamberto Scannabecchi. Though Lamberto grew up in the rural area of Fiagnano of the Casalfiumanese commune, he began a church career that quickly saw him appointed as the archdeacon of Bologna. It was not long before Lamberto’s clear abilities drew the attention of the then-Pope Urban II. Urban appointed Lamberto as a cardinal-priest in the year 1099 A.D.
Pope Paschal II succeeded Urban II as the pontiff and continued the patronage of the rising Lamberto. Paschal appointed him as Canon of the Lateran before later consecrating him as Ostia’s cardinal bishop in 1117 A.D. Under the subsequent pontificate of Pope Calixtus II, Lamberto served as the papal emissary to Germany.
During the Concordat of Worms that took place in 1122 A.D., Lamberto played a role in ending the tense and long-standing investiture controversy. This argument had begun in the 11th century and had centered on whose role it was to appoint clergy to their offices. Both the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor claimed the privilege.
When Pope Calixtus II died, the church conclave struggled over whether to anoint Lamberto or Cardinal Teobaldo Buccapeco as the new head of the Western Church. Lamberto prevailed and took the name of Pope Honorius II at his election. The struggle continued between his faction and the one that had supported his arch-rival Cardinal Teobaldo. Honorious then tendered the offer of his resignation, but the cardinals chose to confirm his election again on December 20, 1124 A.D.
Achievements and Acts of Pope Honorius II
Honorius II strove to accomplish reform in the church. His time in the papacy saw peace established between the Holy See and the rulers of Western Christendom. Among his achievements, Honorius II supported Count Lothar II of Supplinburg’s successful election to be the new German king in 1125 A.D. To keep friendly relations with the new King Lothar, Honorius excommunicated the rival claimant Conrad of Hohenstaufen.
Pope Honorius II also took on Southern Italian rival Count Roger II of Calabria and Sicily, who would later become the powerful King of Sicily. When Roger named himself duke of Apulia as well, the pope orchestrated a revolt in the form of a league of southern Italian barons and cities that rose against the now Duke Roger. Unfortunately for Honorius, Duke Roger’s military leadership and force proved to be more powerful in the contest that left the pope with no choice but to invest Roger II as Duke of Apulia in exchange for an oath of fealty (loyalty) to the pope.
Pope Honorius II Quick Facts
- Born – February 9, 1060 A.D.
- Birth Name – Lamberto Scannabecchi
- Died – February 13, 1130 A.D.
- How he died
Pope Honorius II suffered for nearly a year from a painful illness in 1129 A.D. The following year in early 1130 A.D. he became seriously ill and died on February 13, 1130 A.D. Following his death in February, the Catholic Church once again fell into chaos and a bitter struggle as two rival popes secured election in Pope Innocent II and an antipope Anacletus II.
- Papacy began – 1124 A.D.
- Papacy ended – February 13, 1130 A.D.
- Successor – Pope Innocent II
Interesting Facts About Pope Honorius II
- Honorius II entered into an immediate conflict over Italian imperial claims with Emperor Henry V.
- Pope Honorius II became the first pontiff who confirmed the Holy Roman Emperor’s election.
- Honorius gave his patronage to newer monastic orders like the Cistercians and the Augustinians.
- Honorius II was the pope who gave his approval to a new military order known as the Knights Templar (in year 1128 A.D.).
- Pope Honorius struggled to manage the incessant rivalries and bickering of various church officials and princes whose conflicts were weakening the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.
- Honorius II could not stop the French King Louis VI from interfering in French church affairs.