Eugene III

Eugene III

Eugene III, d. 1153, pope (1145-53), a Pisan named Bernard (probably in full Bernardo dei Paganelli di Montemagno); successor of Lucius II. Before his election he was called Bernard of Pisa. He was prominent among the Cistercians, then in their first flower, and was the friend of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who wrote De consideratione for him when he became pope. Eugene's pontificate was disturbed from the beginning by Arnold of Brescia, whom he ordered to return to Rome in penitence. In 1146 the agitation of Arnold and the republicans drove the pope from Rome. Eugene and St. Bernard led in promoting the disastrous Second Crusade. While in exile (1146-49, 1150-52) the pope busied himself with reforming the clerical discipline of Western Europe. He was succeeded by Anastasius IV. Eugene was beatified in 1872.
Pope Eugene III (died July 8, 1153), born Bernardo dei Paganelli di Montemagno, was Pope from 1145 to 1153.


A native of Pisa, Paganelli was elected Pope in February 1145 and took the name Eugene III. When called to occupy this supreme position, he was only abbot of a Cistercian monastery just outside Rome, and he owed his elevation partly to the fact that none were eager to accept an office the duties of which were at the time so difficult and dangerous, but chiefly to his being the friend and pupil of Bernard of Clairvaux, the most influential ecclesiastic of the Western Church, and a strong assertor of the Pope's temporal authority. The choice had not, however, the approval of Bernard, who remonstrated against the election on account of the "innocence and simplicity" of Eugene III; but after the choice was made he took advantage of the qualities in Eugene III which he objected to, so as to virtually rule in his name.

During nearly the whole of his pontificate Eugene III was unable to reside in Rome. Hardly had he left the city to be consecrated in the monastery of Farfa (about 40 km north of Rome), when the citizens, under the influence of Arnold of Brescia – the great opponent of the Pope's temporal power — established the old Roman constitution, the Commune of Rome and elected Giordano Pierleoni to be patrician. Eugene III appealed for help to Tivoli, Italy, to other cities at feud with Rome, and to Roger II of Sicily (who sent his general Robert of Selby) and with their aid was successful in making such conditions with the Roman citizens as enabled him for a time to hold the semblance of authority in his capital; but as he would not agree to a treacherous compact against Tivoli, he was compelled to leave the city in March 1146. He stayed for some time at Viterbo, and then at Siena, but went ultimately to France.

On hearing of the fall of Edessa to the Turks, he had, in December 1145, addressed the bull Quantum praedecessores to Louis VII of France (1137–80), calling on him to take part in another crusade; and at a great diet held at Speyer in 1146 the Emperor Conrad III (1138–52) also, and many of his nobles, were, by the eloquence of Bernard, incited to dedicate themselves to the Crusade.

He held synods in northern Europe: at Paris, Rheims, and Trier in 1147 and 1149 which were devoted to the reform of clerical life; he also considered and approved the works of Hildegard of Bingen. In 1149, Eugene III returned to Italy, and took up his residence at Viterbo. He fled to the Prince Ptolemy's fortress in Tusculum on 8 April and remained there, where he met the returning Crusader king Louis VII of France and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, until 7 November. In 1150, through the aid of the King of Sicily, he was again able to enter Rome, but the jealously of the republicans soon compelled him to retire.

The Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (1152–90) had promised to aid him against his revolted subjects, but the death of Eugene III at Tivoli, on July 8, 1153, prevented the fulfillment of the engagement. Though the citizens of Rome were jealous of the efforts of Eugene III to assert his temporal authority, they were always ready to recognize him as their spiritual lord, and they besides deeply reverenced his personal character. Accordingly he was buried at the Vatican with every mark of respect, and his tomb soon acquired an extraordinary fame for miraculous cures.


Original text from the 9th edition (1879) of an unnamed encyclopedia. Original referred to him as Eugene - modified to match spelling on Popes list. Please update article as needed.

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