Pope St. Nicholas I
Born at Rome, date unknown; died 13 November, 867.
One of the great popes of the Middle Ages, who exerted decisive influence upon the historical development of the papacy and its position among the Christian nations of Western Europe.
He was of a distinguished family, being the son of the Defensor Theodore, and received an excellent training. Already distinguished for his piety, benevolence, ability, knowledge, and eloquence, he entered, at an early age, the service of the Church, was made subdeacon by Pope Sergius II (844-47), and deacon by Leo IV (847-55). After Benedict’s death (7 April, 858) the Emperor Louis II, who was in the neighbourhood of Rome, came into the city to exert his influence upon the election. On 24 April Nicholas was elected pope, and on the same day was consecrated and enthroned in St. Peter’s in the presence of the emperor. Three days after, he gave a farewell banquet to the emperor, and afterward, accompanied by the Roman nobility, visited him in his camp before the city, on which occasion the emperor came to meet the pope and led his horse for some distance. Continue reading