Pope Leo VI

Pope Leo VI (880 – 12 February 929) was the bishop of Rome and nominal ruler of the Papal States for just over seven months, from June 928 to his death. His pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.


Leo VI
Bishop of Rome
ChurchCatholic Church
SeeHoly See
Papacy beganJune 928
Papacy endedFebruary 929
PredecessorJohn X
SuccessorStephen VII
Personal details
BornRome, Papal States
DiedFebruary 929
Rome, Papal States
Previous post(s)Cardinal-Priest of Santa Susanna (916-928)
Other popes named Leo

Family and early careerEdit

Leo VI was born into a Roman family,[1] and his father was Christophorus, who had been primicerius under Pope John VIII around the year 876. Tradition has it that he was a member of the Sanguini family.[2] Before his pontificate, Leo served as the cardinal-priest of Santa Susanna.[3]


Leo was elected pope around June 928, during a period of anarchy.[3] He was chosen by the senatrix Marozia, who had gained control of Rome via the domination of her husband Guy, Margrave of Tuscany, and who had ordered the imprisonment and death of Leo’s predecessor, John X.[4]

During his brief pontificate, Leo confirmed the decisions of the Synod of Spalato.[3] He completed his predecessor’s investigations into the ecclesiastical situation in Dalmatia, and proceeded to give the pallium to Archbishop John of Salona, and ordered all the bishops of Dalmatia to obey him. He also ordered the bishop of Nona and others to limit themselves to the extent of their dioceses.[5] Leo then banned castrati from marrying.[6] He also issued an appeal for help against the Arab raiders who were threatening Rome, stating that:

”Whoever died faithful in this struggle will not see himself refused entry into the heavenly kingdom.”[7]

The chronicler Flodoard said of him:

”Through the virtue of Peter, Leo the sixth was taken and received, he was preserved for seven months and five days, and like his predecessors, he joined the company of the prophets.”[3]

Leo died in February 929, and was succeeded by Stephen VII. He was buried at St. Peter’s Basilica.[3]


  1. ^ Platina, Bartolomeo (1479), The Lives of the Popes From The Time Of Our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII, I, London: Griffith Farran & Co., p. 247, retrieved 2013-04-25
  2. ^ Georgina Masson, The Companion Guide to Rome (1980), page 177
  3. ^ a b c d e Mann, page 188
  4. ^ Mann, pgs. 163-164
  5. ^ Mann, page 168
  6. ^ Medical problems of performing artists, Volume 13 (1998), page 151
  7. ^ Pierre Riché, The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe (1993), page 311

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John X
Succeeded by
Stephen VII