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Pope Stephen II

Born: ?
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: 26-Apr-757 AD
Location of death: Rome, Italy
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Religion

Nationality: Italy
Executive summary: Forged the Donation of Constantine

Stephen II (sometimes called Stephen III), Roman Catholic Pope from March 752 to April 757, was in deacon's orders when chosen to the vacant see within twelve days after the death of Zacharias. He should be remembered for ordering the forgery of the Donation of Constantine. Ostensibly penned by Constantine the Great in 315 AD after his conversion to Christianity in return for being cured from leprosy, the document granted the See of Rome dominion over all earthly thrones of Europe. In 1440, anachronisms in the document proved that it was really a fraud written around 752, during the reign of and under orders of Pope Stephen II.

The main difficulty of his pontificate was in connection with the aggressive attitude of Aistulf, king of the Lombards. After unsuccessful embassies to Aistulf himself and appeals to the emperor Constantine, he though in feeble health, set out to seek the aid of Pippin the Short, by whom he was received in the neighborhood of Vitry le Brulé in the beginning of 754. He spent the winter at St. Denis. The result of his negotiations was the Frankish invasion of Aistulf's territory and the famous "donation" of Pippin. The death of Stephen took place not long after that of Aistulf. He was succeeded by Pope Paul I.

Some confusion exists as to the naming of this and subsequent pope Stephens. A priest named Stephen, elected immediately before him, died of a stroke three days after, without having received the episcopal consecration. Some chroniclers call that Pope Stephen II, and this one III. In 1959 the Vatican removed the other Stephen II from the official roll of popes.

    Roman Catholic Pope 26-Mar-752 to 26-Apr-757 AD


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