Formosus was elected pope in 891, and after crowning Guido III of Spoleto and his son Lambert co-emperors the next year, the pope appealed to Arnulf, king of the East Franks, to free Rome from the tyranny of its co-emperors. Arnulf was successful, and Formosus crowned him emperor in 896, the year that Formosus died.
Six months after the death of his predecessor, Stephen VI had Formosus' corpse brought to trial for capital crimes. When the synod found the dead pope guilty, Stephen had the cadaver stripped of its papal vestments and removed the fingers with which the pope had blessed. Formosus' body was then dragged through the streets of Rome and was eventually thrown into the Tiber. The body was reinterred in 897.
Although Sergius III confirmed the decision of the Cadaver Synod nearly ten years later, Pope John XI reinstated the disgraced Formosus about 40 years after his posthumous deposition.
Karen Rae Keck
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