Formosus | Free Online Biblical Library

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d.896. Pope from 891. Probably born in Rome, he became cardinal bishop of Porto in 864 and was entrusted with papal missions by Nicholas I and Hadrian II. Papal legate to Bulgaria (866-76) to promote the country's conversion, and emissary to France (869) and Trent (872, to deal with the question of Louis II's successor), Formosus was dismissed as prince of Boris in 876 for opposing the policies of John VIII after serving ten years. He lived at Sens until 882 when Pope Marinus restored him to the diocese. Elected pope, he asked the German king Arnulf to protect Italy against Guido, former duke of Spoleto, and named him emperor in 896. His pontificate witnessed strife over Photius of Constantinople, the suffragan of Bremen, and the successor to the French crown (he supported Charles the Simple). Beholden to the Spoletanian party, the new pope Stephen VI exhumed Formosus's body, conducted a posthumous trial, declared him deposed, and allowed his decomposed body to be thrown into the Tiber.