Pope Leo VI

Leo VI
Papacy began June 928
Papacy ended February 929
Predecessor John X
Successor Stephen VII
Personal details
Birth name (traditionally) Sanguini
Born Rome, Papal States
Died February 929
Rome, Papal States
Other popes named Leo

Pope Leo VI (died February 929) was Pope for just over seven months, from June 928 to his death in February 929. His pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.


Leo VI was born into a Roman family,[1] and his father was Christophorus, who had been Primicerius under Pope John VIII around the year 876. Tradition has it that he was a member of the Sanguini family.[2] Just immediately prior to his election as pope, Leo had been serving as the Cardinal-Priest of the church of Santa Susanna.[3]

Leo was elected pope around June 928, during a period of anarchy.[3] He was chosen by the senatrix Marozia, who had gained control of Rome via the domination of her husband Guy, Margrave of Tuscany, and who had ordered the imprisonment and death of Leo’s predecessor, Pope John X.[4]

During his brief pontificate, Leo confirmed the decisions of the Synod of Split.[3] He completed his predecessor’s investigations into the ecclesiastical situation in Dalmatia, and proceeded to give the pallium to John, Archbishop of Salona, and ordered all the bishops of Dalmatia to obey him. He also ordered the Bishop of Nona and others to limit themselves to the extent of their dioceses.[5] Leo then issued a ban on castrati entering into a union of marriage.[6] He also issued an appeal for help against the Arab raiders who were threatening Rome, stating that:

”Whoever died faithful in this struggle will not see himself refused entry into the heavenly kingdom.”[7]

The French chronicler Flodoard said of him:

”Through the virtue of Peter, Leo the sixth was taken and received, he was preserved for seven months and five days, and like his predecessors, he joined the company of the prophets.”[3]

Leo died in February 929, and was succeeded by Pope Stephen VII. He was buried at St. Peter’s Basilica.[3]


  1. Platina, Bartolomeo (1479), The Lives of the Popes From The Time Of Our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII, I, London: Griffith Farran & Co., p. 247, retrieved 2013-04-25
  2. Georgina Masson, The Companion Guide to Rome (1980), page 177
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Mann, page 188
  4. Mann, pgs. 163-164
  5. Mann, page 168
  6. Medical problems of performing artists, Volume 13 (1998), page 151
  7. Pierre Riché, The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe (1993), page 311
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John X
Succeeded by
Stephen VII
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