Historical story

Formoso:Trial of the Pope ... Dead!

897:Synod of the corpse. Pope Formosus is found guilty during a post mortem trial

One can imagine something more grotesque than a one trial dead ?

In the Middle Ages this also happened.

The event went down in history as the "synod of the corpse ”And was set up for Papa Formoso , who died on 4 April 896 at the age of eighty.

Nine months after the solemn burial, the pontiff's body was exhumed for trial; nothing was left to chance and the man, dressed in his sacred vestments, was placed on the throne of the Lateran Basilica in Rome to await, if we can say so, the verdict.

It is not surprising that the latter was condemned, since it is difficult to imagine an effective defense of himself and his work by Formoso, who, after cutting the three blessing fingers of his right hand, was dragged through the city streets and given to the public mockery before being thrown into the waters of the Tiber.

But what had the pope done so serious to deserve such an ignominious end?

The reasons lay, as always, in the political issues of the time.

The judge of this singular judicial procedure was in fact the new Pope Stephen VI , elected thanks to the support of the Dukes of Spoleto , who previously had been overtaken in the struggle for the succession to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire by Arnolfo di Carinthia , king of the Franks of the East, legitimate heir, backed by Formosus and holder of the title of king of Italy by his decision.

The “post mortem” process therefore, it was a revenge on the part of the dukes, who had contributed to the election of Stephen VI.