Here's a list of the previous popes who took the name Benedict:
575-579—Benedict I: Italian. Died in a siege of Rome during the Lombard invasions.
684-685_ Benedict II: Italian. A scholar who worked to aid the poor. The patron saint of Europe.
855-858_ Benedict III: Italian. Interceded in the conflicts between the sons of French leader Lothair I.
900-903—Benedict IV: Italian. Crowned Emperor Louis III (the Blind) as Holy Roman Emperor.
964-965—Benedict V: Italian. Abducted by Holy Roman Emperor Otto and taken to Germany, where he died.
973-974 _Benedict VI: Italian. Imprisoned and strangled by a faction of an opposing papal party.
974-983 _Benedict VII: Italian. Supported monasteries and higher learning.
1012-1024—Benedict VIII: Italian. Faced an opposing candidate for pope and was enthroned by Henry II of Germany, whom he crowned Holy Roman Emperor. During his papacy, the Muslim Saracens attacked Europe and settled in Sicily.
1047-unknown_ Benedict IX: Pope at 20 because of family connections. Was designated pope three times, forced from the papal throne twice and abdicated once. Finally deposed by Damasus II.
1058-1059—Benedict X: Italian. Election deemed irregular because of vote-rigging, and his papacy was ruled illegitimate. Was deposed and excommunicated a year later.
1303-1304—Benedict XI: Italian. Reigned for eight months and likely died of poison. His successor moved the papacy to Avignon, France, where it stayed for 72 years.
1334-1342—Benedict XII: French. Before his election, he pursued heretics. As pope, he attempted to curb luxuries in monasteries and engaged in theological discussions.
1724-1730—Benedict XIII: Italian. A strict disciplinarian who instituted reforms but was weak in international relations.
1740-1758—Benedict XIV: Italian. Investigated the Jesuits, condemned the French playwright Voltaire and clarified rules on baptism, including forbidding forcible baptism of Jews.
1914-1922—Benedict XV: Italian. Called for peace during World War I and canonized Joan of Arc. Emphasized training native priests instead of European missionaries.
Sources: World Almanac, Catholic Forum, Catholic Encyclopedia, Wikipedia
(Compiled by Knight Ridder Newspapers researcher Tish Wells.)
(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.
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