Sergius II
Bishop of Rome
ChurchCatholic Church
Papacy beganJanuary 844
Papacy ended27 January 847
PredecessorGregory IV
SuccessorLeo IV
Personal details
Died(847-01-27)27 January 847
Other popes named Sergius

Pope Sergius II (Latin: Sergius II; died 27 January 847) was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from January 844 to his death in 847. Sergius II's pontificate saw the Arab raid against Rome as well as the city's redevelopment.


Born to a noble family, Sergius was educated in the schola cantorum and ordained cardinal-priest of the Church of Sts. Martin and Sylvester by Pope Paschal I. Under Pope Gregory IV, he became archpriest.[1]

At a preliminary meeting to designate a successor to Gregory IV, who died in January 844, Sergius was nominated by the aristocracy, while the people of Rome declared for the deacon John. The opposition was suppressed, with Sergius intervening to save John's life. John was, however, shut up in a monastery, and Sergius was duly consecrated, without seeking ratification of the Frankish court.[1] Emperor Lothair I, however, disapproved of this abandonment of the Constitutio Romana of 824, which included a statute that no pope should be consecrated until his election had imperial approval. He sent an army under his son Louis, the recently appointed king of Italy, to re-establish his authority. The Church and the emperor reached an accommodation, with Sergius crowning Louis as king,[2] but the pope did not accede to all the demands made upon him.


Sergius contributed to urban redevelopment in Rome, improving churches, aqueducts, and the Lateran Basilica.[1] He and his brother, Benedict, funded their building plans by selling appointments to various church positions to the highest bidder.[3]

During his pontificate, the outskirts of Rome were ravaged, and the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul were sacked by Arabs, who also approached Portus and Ostia in August 846.[2] During the raid, he and the people of Rome looked on helplessly as they hid behind the Aurelian walls.[4] Despite having been forewarned of the intentions of the raiders, Sergius is seen as having not acted adequately enough to prepare for that which eventuated.[5]

Sergius died while negotiating between the patriarchs of Aquileia and Grado.[6] He was succeeded by Leo IV.

Popular culture

Pope Sergius was portrayed by John Goodman in the 2009 film Pope Joan.


  1. ^ a b c Mann, Horace. "Pope Sergius II." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 14 September 2017
  2. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sergius § Sergius II" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 667.
  3. ^ "The 102nd Pope",, Diocese of Bridgeport[better source needed]
  4. ^ Piers Paul Read (31 Dec 2012). The Templars. Hachette UK. p. iv. ISBN 9781780225982.[better source needed]
  5. ^ Paul Collins (4 Mar 2014). The Birth of the West: Rome, Germany, France, and the Creation of Europe in the Tenth Century (illustrated, reprint ed.). PublicAffairs. pp. 46–7. ISBN 9781610393683.
  6. ^ Sergius II

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Sergius II". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.


Catholic Church titles Preceded byGregory IV Pope 844–847 Succeeded byLeo IV