[St. Pachomius Library]

Adrian I, Pope of Rome

VIII Century
A scion of a noble Roman family, Adrian was made a deacon by Stephen III, whom he succeeded in 772. Adrian continued Stephen's quarrels with King Desiderius of Lombardy over various properties in Northern Italy. In 773, Adrian's threat to excommunicate Desiderius prevented an invasion of Rome. Adrian asked Charlemagne for help, and after the defeat of Desiderius, Charlemagne, now King of the Franks and Lombards, gave Adrian considerable land in Italy. This "donation" became the Papal States. Adrian restored aqueducts and churches in Rome; he also fortified the walls of the city. Outside the city, he established monastery farms whose produce fed the poor. Adrian opposed adoptionism and defended the veneration of icons at the Seventh Council (787) and to Charlemagne. Adrian died in 795.

Karen Rae Keck


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