Adrian II of Rome

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Pope Adrian II of Rome, also Hadrian II, was the Pope of the Church of Rome from 867 to 872. Elected to the see of Rome at an advanced age, his pontificate was troubled in the West as well as with the Church of Constantinople. He approved the liturgical use of the Slavic language by Ss. Cyril and Methodius in their missionary work among the Slavic tribes.


Adrian was born in 792 in Rome into a noble Roman family from which both Popes Stephen III and Sergius II came. As a young man, before he took Holy Orders, Adrian married Stephania, a women with whom had a daughter. Active and a cardinal, Adrian had twice been offered the election as pope but he had refused.

After the death of Pope Nicholas I on November 13, 867, Adrian accepted his election of December 14, 867 as pope. He was then seventy-five years of age. While he attempted to maintain the policies of Nicholas, his tenure as pope was marred with difficulties. He appointed the influential Anastasius Bibliothecarius to the position of librarian of the Roman Church[1]. But in 868, his wife and daughter were murdered by the brother of Anastasius, Eleutherius, possibly with his assistance. King Charles the Bald of France snubbed him and the Duke of Spoleto pillaged Rome after his election. At Monte Cassino, he readmitted King Lothar II of Lorraine to communion, but Lothar’s death in 869 created succession issues with Holy Roman Emperor Louis II, Lothar's brother, in which Adrian ineffectually intervened. Against Archbishop Hincmar of Reims, Adrian steadfastly upheld the unlimited right of bishops to appeal to the pope.

Pope Adrian supported the missionary efforts of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Moravia by approving their use of the Slavonic language in the liturgy.

In 869, Pope Adrian sent legates to a council in Constantinople, called by the Eastern Roman emperor Basil I, that deposed Patriarch Photius and returned Patr. Igantius to the see of Constantinople. The council also established the see of Constantinople, in its canon 21, as second in rank to that of the see of Rome. However, he was unsuccessful in stopping the transfer of the area of Bulgaria to the jurisdiction of the Church of Constantinople.

Pope Adrian II died on December 14, 872.

Succession box:
Adrian II of Rome
Preceded by:
Nicholas I
Pope of Rome
Succeeded by:
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