Pope Formosus

Pope FormosusProfile

As CardinalBishop of Porto in Rome, he became an influential papal advisor. Important diplomat in the time following the disruption of Charlemagne‘s empire. Papal legate and bishop in Bulgaria where he had fought to Latinize the rites. Papal legate to France where he worked to settle the marital strife between King Lothair and his wife Theutberga. Excommunicated in 872 by Pope John VIII for leading the opposition to John‘s coronation of Charles the Bald. He was returned to full communion in 883 by Pope Marinus I. Elected 111th pope in 891.

As pope he was involved in a dispute over imperial power; he sided against the dukes of Spoleto, whose power seemed a threat to the papacy, but was forced to crown Guido, duke of Spoleto, and his son Lambert. Encouraged Arnulf to invade Italy, and in 896 Formosus crowned him emperor. After Formosus’ death, the Spoletos came to power and Formosus’ pontificate declared invalid. Pope John XI re-validated his acts, and 897 Theodore II re-interred Formosus’ body with full honors.


Papal Ascension


  • 896 in Rome, Italy, of natural causes
  • due to political problems, his grave was desecrated, but in 897 his remains were reinterred in Saint Peter’s Basilica
Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Pope Formosus“. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 June 2019. Web. 30 November 2021. <>