Pope Stephen IV

May 27, 2022

Today’s saint of the day is Pope Stephen IV, a Roman Bishop. 

Brief History

Stephen was born in 750 AD to a Roman aristocrat called Marinus, whose family included Popes Sergius II and Adrian II. Stephen IV was raised at Pope Adrian I’s Lateran Palace.

Stephen was elected to replace his predecessor, Pope Leo, as the next leader of the Western Church. Pope Stephen IV was consecrated on June 22, 816 A.D., ten days after Leo III’s death.

King Louis invited Pope Stephen IV to Gaul (France). Pope Stephen IV left in August of 816 A.D. King Bernard of Italy, and the Frankish ruler’s nephew, accompanied Stephen IV to the city of Rheims.

On October 5, 816 AD, King Louis was crowned by Pope Stephen IV with a crown allegedly belonging to the legendary Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.

Pope Stephen IV renewed the relationship between the pope and the Frankish monarch. The Roman Church’s rights and the Papal States’ territory were also reaffirmed.

In his short papacy, Pope Stephen IV made further arrangements. He made Bishop Theodulf of Orleans an archbishop and aided the release of all King Louis the Pious’ political prisoners.

He also went back to Rome with a number of exiles who had been banished for political reasons during Pope Leo III’s papacy. Shortly after his return, Stephen passed away. He was laid to rest in St. Peter’s Basilica, and Paschal I was succeeded by Paschal I.

Fun Facts:

  • Stephen IV is sometimes referred to as Stephen V.
  • He was born into an aristocratic family that produced three Popes: Himself, Sergius II, and Adrian III.
  • Stephen was raised at the Lateran Palace during the reign of Pope Adrian I and was groomed to be a Pope his whole life.
  • Stephen was ordained as a sub-deacon by Pope Leo III.
  • When word of Leo’s death reached the senior priests on June 12, 816 AD, they quickly elected him as Pope, and Stephen was consecrated ten days later. He carried on Pope Leo III’s policies.
  • As a thank you for swearing allegiance to Louis the Pious of West Francia, Stephen received a series of presents from Louis, one of which was a mansion in the Aube region of northern France located at Vendeuvre-sur-Barse.
  • Pope Stephen IV served as Pope from June 816 to January 817.
  • Pope Stephen died on the 24th of June, 817 AD, and was buried at St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • He was succeeded by Pope Paschal I of Rome.


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