26.03.

752: The Priest who was Elected Pope, but Died before his Enthronement

752: The Priest who was Elected Pope, but Died before his Enthronement
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 26 March
  • According to the Canon Law of that time, the pontificate begins only once the pope is anointed bishop, which means that Stephen is officially not considered to have been a pope.

The Roman priest Stephen died on this day in 752, only a few days after being elected pope.

However, according to the Canon Law of that time, the pontificate begins only once the pope is anointed bishop, which means that Stephen is officially not considered to have been a pope.

The reason the mentioned condition exists is linked to the fact that the popes are actually the Bishops of Rome.

Later, a rule was introduced according to which the pontificate begins immediately after the election and acceptance of the office of pope.

According to this, Stephen would have been counted as a pope, but such rules cannot be applied retroactively. However, it still led so some confusion, where some lists of popes listed Stephen as “Pope Stephen II”.

Stephen can provisionally be termed an “elected pope”, similar to how bishops were called “elected bishops” (Latin: “electus”) before their confirmation.

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