Sabina is now a province in Italy within which lies the town of Cantaloupo. It is also known as a comune which provides basic civil functions such as registry of deeds, contracting for public works and local roads and also a registry of births and deaths.
Lando’s father was wealthy and a member of royalty having the title of Count Taino of Fornovo.
As Pope Lando, however, he rose from the position of Archbishop-Cardinal of Sabina Poggio. The title Archbishop-Cardinal was a rare title in the Catholic Church granted mainly in papal provinces like Sabina.
The Short Papacy of Pope Lando
Pope Lando began his papacy in July or August 913. It ended in February or March of 914. According to papal documents, Pope Lando served as Pope less than six months. He was succeeded by Pope John X.
While not the shortest papal reign in church history, Pope Lando’s reign ranks among some of the shortest. Pope Urban died 13 days after he was appointed. Other with short papal reigns include: Boniface VI who reigned for 16 calendar days. Celestine IV reigned for 17 calendar days and died before consecration and Theodore II reigned for 20 calendar days.
The other difference in Pope Lando’s papal reign is that in the first millennium of the Catholic Church, popes were elected by political rulers or their predecessors. Unlike the present, when Cardinals vote in a secluded election.
It is not known for certain if Pope Lando’s predecessor, Pope Anastasius III, a younger man, appointed him or perhaps, King Berengar may have influenced Pope Lando’s appointment since Pope Lando’s father was Count Taino.
Speculation as to the Cause of Pope Lando’s Death
When Pope Lando died in 914, the last year of his papal reign, it is likely he was stricken by a plague that swept across Europe since the 6th century and waxed and waned for several centuries longer.
This early plague was known as the Justinian Plague believed to be spread by rats inhabiting trade ships that brought goods to Italy from Africa. The Justinian Plague began in 541 AD but continued to spread until an estimated 25,000,000 to 100,000,000 died from this highly contagious disease.
Though little it known about Pope Lando according to the Catholic Encyclopedia and Church historical archives. It is known that he was considered worthy of the papacy. Church bios on Pope Lando indicate he was a humble man of charitable nature, not unlike Antony of Padua or Francis of Assisi.
Interesting Facts about Pope Lando
During his short papal reign, Pope Lando granted a privileges to his church in Sabina. He is also the last pope before Pope Francis to use his birth name. No other Pope has taken the name Lando.
By all appearances of lithographs and sketches of Pope Lando he was approximately fifty years of age when he was elected pope.