The Synod of Terror: the trial of the corpse of Pope Formosus

The Synod of Terror: the trial of the corpse of Pope Formosus

One of the curiosities most interesting in history is called "synod of the corpse", Which had the deceased as the central protagonist Papa Formoso, and his successors Bonifacio VI and Esteban VI, in addition to the Roman Spoleto family.

Formosus was Pope 111 of the Catholic Church between 891 and 896 and his pontificate was marked by a great confrontation with the Emperor Guido of Spoleto, who pressured the Pontiff to crown his son, Lambert of Spoleto.

While Formosan performed this action, began to plot with the German king Arnulf the invasion of Rome to free it from the yoke of the Spoleto family, which happened in February 896. Once Lamberto was expelled, Arnulf became the new Emperor of Rome, being crowned by the Pope in the Basilica of San Pedro.

However, on April 4 of that year, Formosus dies and Bonifacio VI assumes as successor, thanks to the support of Lambert of Spoleto, who controlled Rome again due to a serious illness that Arnulfo suffered, which led him to leave Italy.

Bonifacio along with Lamberto and the Spoleto family, They promote the realization of a trial against the dead Pope, but his successor would also pass away after a brief pontificate. At that time, Esteban VI, who only nine months after Formoso's death, assumed orders to exhume his body and summon a Council in order to prosecute the former Pope.

In the Constantinian Basilica, in 896, the one that went down in history as “Synod of Terror"Or"Synod of the corpse", in which the body of Formoso he was seated on the Papal throne once he had been clothed in ecclesiastical robes, and put on trial, of which logically he was found guilty.

The corpse had the three fingers of the hand with which it imparted the papal blessings were torn off, and his body was buried in a place unknown to everyone, which was recovered under the Papacy of Theodore II, who rehabilitated Formoso following the a line previously drawn by the Roman Pope.

For his part, Pope John IX, promulgated after the Councils of Ravenna and Rome, that any trial against a dead person would be totally prohibited, but it did not last long because when he assumed the Pontifical Solio Sergius iii In 904, he annulled these rules and made a new trial against Formoso.

This time after declare him guilty again, his remains were thrown into the Tiber River, although legend has it that a fisherman found him among his nets and hid him until the death of Sergio III, when the Formosus remains were buried in the Vatican, where it remains to this day.

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