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(882-884)

There is reason for believing that Marinus I was elected on the very day of the death of John VIII (16 Dec., 882), and that he was consecrated without waiting for the consent of the incompetent emperor, Charles the Fat. If the actual date of his election is uncertain, that of his death is still more so; but it was perhaps 15 May 884. In the seventh century there was a pope, St. Martinus I, and, owing to the similarity between the names Martinus and Marinus, some chroniclers called Pope Marinus Martinus . Hence, some modern historians have erroneously described the two popes Marinus as Martinus II and Martinus III respectively, and the successor of Nicholas III called himself Martinus IV. Marinus, about whom but little is known, had a distinguished career before he became pope. He was the son of the priest Palumbo, was born at Gallese, and was attached to the Roman Church at the age of twelve. Leo IV ordained him sub-deacon, and, after he had been made a deacon, he was sent on three important embassies to Constantinople. The second time he went there (869) to preside, as one of the legates of Adrian II, over the Eighth General Council. John VIII, who made him Bishop of Cære (Cervetri), treasurer ( arcarius ) of the Roman Church , and archdeacon, despatched him on that mission to Constantinople, which resulted in his imprisonment for his firmness in carrying out his instructions. Although a bishop he was elected to succeed John VIII, whose policy he partly abandoned and partly followed. In the hope of lessening the factions in Rome, he, most unfortunately as the sequel proved, reversed the action of his predecessor regarding Bishop Formosus of Porte, whom he absolved from all censures, and permitted to return to Rome. But Marinus vigourously upheld the policy of John VIII with regard to Photius, whom he himself condemned. Trusting to get support from Charles the Fat, he met that useless emperor in 833. But, unable to help himself, Charles could do nothing for others. Marinus sent the pallium to the distinguished Fulk of Reims, and, at the request of King Alfred of England, freed from all taxes the Schola Anglorum , or headquarters of the English in Rome. Marinus was buried in the portico of St. Peter's.


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