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Sylvester III, né Giovanni dei CrescenziOttaviani family (born ca. 1080 in Romemarker; died 1062 or 1063); was Pope in 1045. When Pope Benedict IX (1032–44, 1045, 1047–48) was driven from Rome in September, 1044, John, bishop of Sabina, was elected after fierce and protracted infighting and took the title of Sylvester III in January 1045. He was later charged with having bribed his way into the election; a charge that was never confirmed to be true. Benedict IX issued an excommunication of the new Pope and within three months returned to Rome and expelled his rival, who himself returned to Sabina to again take up his office of bishop in that diocese. Nearly two years later (December 1046) the Council of Sutri deprived him of his bishopric and priesthood and ordered him sent to a monastery. This sentence was obviously suspended because he continued to function and was recognized as Bishop of Sabina until at least 1062, having occupied that see for over fifty years (from 1011). A successor bishop to the see of Sabina is recorded for October 1063, indicating that John must have died prior to this date.

Though some consider him to have been an antipope, Sylvester III continues to be listed as an official Pope (1046) in Vatican lists. A similar situation applies to Pope Gregory VI (1045-1046).

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Bibliography

Rudolf Hüls; Kardinäle, Klerus und Kirchen Roms: 1049–1130, Bibliothek des Deutschen Historischen Instituts in Rom, Max Miemeyer Verlag Tübingen, 1977, p.125 no. 1


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