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Adrian II.: Pope 867-872. He was the son of Talarus, of a Roman family which had already produced two popes, Stephen IV. (768-772) and Sergius II. (844-847). He was a married man before entering the clerical state. Gregory IV. made him a cardinal. His great benevolence won the hearts of the Romans, and he twice refused the papacy, after the death of Leo IV. (855) and of Benedict III. (858). A unanimous choice by both clergy and people, however, forced him at the age of seventy-five to accept it in succession to Nicholas I. (d. Nov. 13, 867). The election was confirmed by Emperor Louis II., and Adrian’s consecration followed on Dec. 14.
Forces Lothair II. to Take Back His Wife.
His predecessor had left him a number of unfinished tasks. In the first place, it was necessary to arrive at a final decision concerning a matter which had long and deeply troubled the Frankish Church; namely, the matrimonial relations of King Lothair II. Adrian firmly insisted that Lothair should take back his legitimate wife Thietberga, at the same time releasing his mistress Walrade from the excommunication pronounced against her by Nicholas, at the request of Louis II., on condition that she should have nothing more to do with Lothair. The last-named visited Rome in 869 for the purpose of gaining the pope’s consent to his divorce from Thietberga. Adrian promised no more than to call a new council to investigate the matter, but restored Lothair to communion after he had sworn that he had obeyed the command of Nicholas I. to break off his relations with Walrade. The king’s sudden death at Piacenza on his homeward journey, a few weeks later, was considered to be a divine judgment. The efforts of the pope to enforce the claim of Louis II. to Lorraine were fruitless; immediately after Lothair’s death his uncle, Charles the Bald, had himself crowned at Metz, though less than a year later he was forced by his brother, Louis the German, to divide the inheritance of Lothair in the treaty of Meersen (Aug. 8, 870).
Opposed by Hincmar of Reims.
Adrian’s attempts to interfere in Frankish affairs were stubbornly resisted by Hincmar of Reims, who wrote (Epist., xxvii.), ostensibly as the opinions of certain men friendly to the West-Frankish king, that a pope could not be bishop and king at one and the same time; that Adrian’s predecessors had claimed to decide in ecclesiastical matters only; and that he who attempted to excommunicate a Christian unjustly deprived himself of the power of the keys. When a synod at Douzy near Sedan (Aug., 871) excommunicated Bishop Hincmar of Laon, on grave charges brought against him both by the king and by his own uncle, the more famous Hincmar, the pope allowed an appeal to a Roman council, and brought upon himself in consequence a still sterner warning from Charles the Bald by the pen of Hincmar of Reims (MPL, cxxiv. 881-896), with a threat of his personal appearance in Rome. Adrian executed an inglorious retreat. He wrote to Charles praising him for his virtues and his benefits to the Church, promised him the imperial crown on Louis’s death, and offered the soothing explanation that earlier less pacific letters had been either extorted from him during sickness or falsified. In the matter of Hincmar of Laon, he made partial concessions, which were completed by his successor, John VIII.
Conflict with Photius.
Another conflict which Nicholas I. had left to Adrian, that with Photius, patriarch of Constantinople, seemed likely to have a happier issue, when Photius was condemned first by a Roman synod (June 10, 869), and then by the general council at Constantinople in the same year, the papal legates taking a position which seemed to make good the claims of the Roman see. But Emperor Basil the Macedonian dealt these claims a severe blow when he caused the envoys of the Bulgarians (see Bulgarians, Conversion of the) to declare to the legates that their country belonged to the patriarchate not of Rome, but of Constantinople. Adrian’s protests were in vain; a Greek archbishop appeared among the Bulgarians, and the Latin missionaries had to give place. Moravia, on the other hand, was firmly attached to Rome, Adrian allowing the use of a Slavic liturgy, and naming Methodius archbishop of Sirmium. After a pontificate marked principally by defeat, Adrian died between Nov. 13 and Dec. 14, 872.
Bibliography: The Letters of Adrian in Mansi, Collectio, xv. 819-820; in MPL, cxxii., cxxix., and in Bouquet, Recueil, vol. vii.; Vita Hadriani II., in Liber pontificalis, ed. Duchesne, ii. 173-174, and in L. A. Muratori, Rerum Italicorum Scriptores, III. ii. 306, 25 vols., Milan, 1723-51; Ado, Chronicon in MGH, Script., ii. (1829) 315-326; idem in MPL, cxxiii.; Annales Fuldenses, in MGH, Script., i. (1826) 375-395, and separately in Script. rer. Germ., ed. F. Kurze Hanover, 1891; Hincmar, Annales, in MGH, Script., i. (1826) 455-515, and in MPL, cxxv.; Hincmar, Epistolæ in MPL, cxxiv., cxxvi.; Regino, Chronicon, in MGH, Script., i. (1826) 580 sqq.; idem, in MPL, cxxxii. (separately ed. F. Kurze, Hanover, 1890); P. Jaffé, Regesta, i. 368, 369, Leipsic 1885; Bower, Popes, ii. 267-282; F. Maassen, Eine Rede des Papstes Hadrian II. von Jahre 869, die erste umfassende Benutzung der falschen Decretalen in Sitzungsberichte der Wiener Akademie , lxxii. (1872) 521; Hefele Conciliengeschichte, vol. iv.; P. A. Lapotre, Hadrian II. et les fausses décrétales, in Revue des questions historiques, xxvii. (1880) 377 sqq.; B. Jungmann, Dissertationes selectæ in hist. eccl., iii., Ratisbon, 1882; Milman, Latin Christianity, iii. 35-80; H. Schrörs, Hinkmar, Freiburg, 1884; J. J. Böhmer, Regesta imperii, I. Die Regesten des Kaiserreichs unter den Karolingern, pp. 751-918; idem, ed. E. Mühlbacher, i. 460 sqq., Innsbruck, 1889; Hauck, KD, ii. 557 sqq., 699-700; J. Langen, Geschichte der römischen 53 Kirche von Nikolaus I. bis Gregor VII., pp. 113-170, Bonn, 1892; E. Mühlbacher, Deutsche Geschichte unter den Karolingern, 1896; E. Dümmler, Über eine Synodalrede Papst Hadriane II., Berlin, 1899; Treaty of Meersen, Eng. transl. in Thatcher and McNeal, Source Book, pp. 64-65.
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