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Pope Gregory V

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Gregory V
Bishop of Rome
ChurchCatholic Church
Papacy began3 May 996
Papacy ended18 February 999
PredecessorJohn XV
SuccessorSylvester II
Personal details
Bruno of Carinthia

c. 972
Died(999-02-18)18 February 999 (aged c. 27)
Rome, Papal States
Other popes named Gregory

Pope Gregory V (Latin: Gregorius V; c. 972 – 18 February 999), born Bruno of Carinthia, was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 3 May 996 to his death. A member of the Salian dynasty, he was made pope by his cousin, Emperor Otto III.


Bruno was a son of Otto I, Duke of Carinthia,[1] a member of the Salian dynasty who was a grandson of Holy Roman Emperor Otto I.

Papal election[edit]

Bruno was the chaplain of his cousin, Emperor Otto III, who presented him as a candidate and arranged his election.[2][3] Bruno was elected and succeeded John XV as pope, taking the name Gregory V.[4] He is often counted as the first German pope (or the second if Boniface II, an Ostrogoth, is counted).[5] Following Otto's return to Germany, Gregory was forced to flee Rome, after the election of antipope John XVI, whom Crescentius II and the nobles of Rome had chosen against the will of Otto III.[3]


Politically, Gregory acted consistently as the Emperor's representative in Rome and granted many exceptional privileges to monasteries within the Holy Roman Empire. One of his first acts was to crown Otto III emperor on 21 May 996.[6] Together, they held a synod a few days after the coronation in which Arnulf, Archbishop of Reims, was ordered to be restored to his See of Reims,[7] and Gerbert of Aurillac, was condemned as an intruder. King Robert II of France, who had been insisting on his right to appoint bishops, was ultimately forced to back down, and also to put aside his wife, Bertha of Burgundy, by the rigorous enforcement of a sentence of excommunication on the kingdom.[8]

Until the conclusion of the council of Pavia in 997, John XVI and Crescentius were in possession of Rome. The revolt of Crescentius II was decisively suppressed by Otto III, who marched upon Rome. John XVI fled, and Crescentius shut himself up in the Castel Sant'Angelo. The Emperor's troops pursued the antipope, captured him, cut off his nose and ears, cut out his tongue, blinded him, and publicly degraded him before Otto III and Gregory V.[9] When the much respected St. Nilus of Rossano castigated both the Emperor and Pope for their cruelty, John XVI was sent to the monastery of Fulda in Germany, where he lived until c. 1001.[10] The Castel Sant'Angelo was besieged, and when it was taken in 998, Crescentius was hanged upon its walls.


Tomb of Pope Gregory V

Gregory V died suddenly, not without suspicion of foul play, on 18 February 999. He is buried in St. Peter's Basilica near Pope Pelagius I. His successor was Gerbert, who took the name Sylvester II.


  1. ^ Brooke 2014, p. 438.
  2. ^ Kalik & Uchitel 2019, p. 35.
  3. ^ a b Baumgartner 2003, p. 17.
  4. ^ Kitchin 1922, p. 52.
  5. ^ McBrien 2000, p. 138.
  6. ^ Collins 2001, p. 191.
  7. ^ Glenn 2004, p. 109.
  8. ^ Duckett 1988, p. 130.
  9. ^ Levillain 2002, p. 646.
  10. ^ "Agasso, Domenico. "San Nilo da Rossano", Santi e Beati, February 1, 2001".


  • Baumgartner, Frederic J. (2003). Behind Locked Doors: A History of the Papal Elections. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Brooke, Christopher (2014). Europe in the Central Middle Ages: 962-1154. Routledge.
  • Duckett, Eleanor Shipley (1988). Death and Life in the Tenth Century. University of Michigan Press.
  • Glenn, Jason (2004). Politics and History in the Tenth Century: The Work and World of Richer of Reims. Cambridge University Press.
  • Levillain, Philippe, ed. (2002). The Papacy: An Encyclopedia. Routledge.
  • McBrien, Richard P. (2000). Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Kalik, Judith; Uchitel, Alexander (2019). Slavic Gods and Heroes. Routledge.
  • Collins, Roger (2001). Keepers Of The Keys Of Heaven: A History Of The Papacy. Basic Books.
  • Kitchin, William P.H. (1922). "A Pope-Philosopher of the Tenth Century: Sylvester II (Gerbert of Aurillac)". The Catholic Historical Review. 8, No. 1, April. Catholic University of America Press: 42–54.

External links[edit]

Pope Gregory V
Born: 972 Died: 999
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Pope
Succeeded by