101. Pope Gregory IV 827-844


Pope Gregory IV was remembered as the peacemaker Pope. Well,he tried to be the peacemaker Pope but none of his efforts amounted to much more than irritating virtually everyone. Holy Roman emperor Louis gave one of his sons some land which made his other sons indignant. One thing led to another and before you know it Europe was plunged into a very bloody family squabble. Pope Gregory IV traveled over the Alps to try anything he could to stop this war,but every time he visited one camp,it would infuriate the others(including his very own Bishops)who thought the Pope was taking sides. All of his efforts amounted to nothing and he returned to Rome while the warring parties themselves divided up Europe without his help. Gregory IV was known for his intelligence,fairness and for declaring All Saint’s Day(and by extension Halloween)an official celebration throughout all of Christendom where before it may have been only celebrated locally.

52. Pope St.Hormisdas 514-523


Named in honor of an exiled Persian noble,the Italian widower Hormisdas was one of the few Popes elected that had once been married with children. In fact,his son Silverius went on to become the Pope himself in the year 536. The Church at the time of Hormisdas was being pulled at both ends. The thirty year long schism with the Eastern Church was still raging,and the previous Pope’s election had divided Rome. Bloody fights between the laity and an Anti-Pope tainted much of the reign of Pope Symmachus. Hormisdas turned out to be the peacemaker that Rome desperately needed. Once elected,he made gestures of peace towards those who had supported the Anti-Pope and he returned them to their previous positions. Next,he went to work to bring the Eastern Church of Constantinople back into the see of the Apostle Peter. New Emperor of Constantinople Justin(the name Justin lacks the oomph of a Commodus or Pertinax or Zeno…..but anyways)condemned the heresies that had disrupted the Eastern Church and he became a valuable ally to Pope Hormisdas in bringing the split between the Churches to an end. On March 28 519,a huge crowd of people in the Cathedral of Constantinople watched a ceremony in which the eastern and western Churches made peace. In the words of Pope Hormisdas “I declare that the see of apostle Peter and the see of this imperial city are one.”
His time as Pope was relatively short,but he made it count. His work setting right the heresies of the Eastern Church(our sister Church)and bringing her back into the fold of Rome is still felt to this day. There are some things we still fight about though,after all,we are siblings.