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(816-17)

Date of birth unknown; died 24 Jan., 817. Stephen, the son of Marinus, was of the same noble Roman family which gave two other popes to the Church. During his youth he had been patronized by Hadrian I and Leo III, the latter of whom had ordained him deacon. His virtues were celebrated, and he was elected pope and consecrated immediately after Leo's death, about 22 June, 816. He at once caused the Romans to take an oath to the Emperor Louis the Pious as their suzerain, and he sent notice of his election to him. He then went to France and crowned Louis. From that benevolent prince he received a number of splendid presents, and with him renewed the pact or agreement that had already existed for some time between the Franks and the papacy. Whilst still in Gaul he granted the pallium to Theodulf of Orléans, one of the emperor's chief advisers. When returning to Rome he visited Ravenna, there exposing the sandals of Christ to the veneration of the faithful, and he brought back with him a number of exiles whom political reasons had sent into exile during the pontificate of Leo III. He was buried in St. Peter's.


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