The holy priest Theodore was elected to succeed Romanus.
Theodore was a Roman, the son of Photius. It is interesting to note that his
brother Theotius was also a bishop. Theodore had been ordained a priest by Pope
Stephen VI. If Flodoard, canon of Rheims, can be trusted, Theodore II was a man
of excellent character. Moderate, chaste, a lover of the poor and the clergy,
and a peacemaker, Theodore seemed to be just the man for the troublous times.
And what is known of Theodore confirms this good opinion. But Theodore was to be
pope for less than three weeks. At once the new Pope ordered a synod to be held.
At this synod the clergymen who had been ordained by Formosus and deposed by
Stephen VII were restored.
Theodore ordered the written resignations which Stephen VII had
collected from them to be burned. And now at last the poor battered body of
Formosus found rest. After it had been thrown into the Tiber the corpse had
washed ashore near the Church of St. Acontius in Porto. According to one story,
Formosus then appeared to a monk and asked him to bury the body. The monk did
so, but secretly for fear of the late pope's enemies. According to another
account, fishermen found the body. At any rate when Pope Theodore II learned of
the discovery of the body, he had it brought back to Rome in solemn procession.
Once more clothed in the pontifical vestments, the body was placed before the
Confession of St. Peter. Then in the presence of Pope Theodore, a Mass was said
for the soul of Formosus, and his poor battered body was restored to its own
One chronicler remarks that he heard from the Romans that when
the body entered St. Peter's, certain images of the saints bowed their heads to
it. Theodore had time for little else. He granted a privilege to the church of
Grado and had a coin struck. Twenty days after his election he was dead.
Excerpted from "Popes
Through the Ages" by Joseph Brusher, S.J.