Pope Valentine – Biography


Pope ValentinePope Valentine (in Latin: Valentinus, died October 10, 827) was Pope for two months in 827.


Born in Rome, in the Vía Lata region, Valentine was the son of a Roman nobleman named Leoncio. Showing an early aptitude for learning, he was transferred from the attached school to the Lateran Palace and, according to the Liber Pontificalis, was named Deacon by Pope Paschal I (817-824). His biographer in the Liber pontificalis praises his piety and purity of morals, which earned him the favor of Paschal I, who elevated him to the rank of Archdeacon. He was also clearly favored by Paschal’s successor, Pope Eugene II, to the extent that rumors circulated that Valentine was actually Eugene’s son. According to Louis-Marie DeCormenin, other rumors declared that Valentine and Eugenius were involved in an illicit relationship.

With the death of Eugenio, the Roman clergy, the nobility and the people acclaimed Valentine as the most worthy to occupy the Apostolic See. They took him out of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and installed him in the Lateran Palace, ignoring his protests. In his haste, he was enthroned before being consecrated a priest; this was an unusual reversal of normal procedures, and in fact it was the first time that it happened in the recorded history of the papacy, although it would be repeated during the pontificate of Pope Benedict III. The following Sunday, he was bishop formally consecrated in the Basilica of San Pedro. There were no Imperial representatives present during the elections, and Valentine had no opportunity to ratify his election with the emperor, as he was dead in five weeks and died on October 10, 827.

The election of Valentine was another sign of the greater influence that the Roman nobility was having in the papal electoral process. Not only had they managed to choose one of them, but they also participated in the election itself. The Lateran Council of 769, under the command of Pope Stephen III, had ordered that the election of the pope be the responsibility of the Roman clergy only, and that the nobility could only offer their respects after the pope had been elected and enthroned. This gradual invasion in the papal electoral process would reach its nadir during the tenth century, when the papacy became the toy of the Roman aristocracy.

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