Pope Honorius II
Biography of Pope Honorius II 1124 – 1130
Pope Honorius II, whose birth name was Lamberto Scannabecchi, was born in Fagnano Alto, Italy, into a humble family, and little is known about his early life. However, he was an intelligent and studious child, and he showed a strong inclination towards religious life from a young age.
Lamberto began his ecclesiastical career as a canon of the cathedral of Bologna. He quickly distinguished himself as a gifted scholar and theologian, and he was soon appointed bishop of Ostia in 1078 by Pope Gregory VII. As bishop, he was known for his piety and his efforts to reform the Church. He was also an important advisor to Pope Gregory VII during the Investiture Controversy, a conflict between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire over who had the right to appoint bishops and other Church officials.
In 1088, Lamberto was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope Urban II. He continued to serve as a close advisor to the pope, and he played a key role in the planning of the First Crusade. During this time, he also served as papal legate to Germany and France, where he worked to strengthen the Church’s authority and promote reform.
After the death of Pope Gelasius II, the College of Cardinals elected Lamberto as pope. He took the name Honorius II, and was crowned in Rome on December 21, 1118.
As pope, Honorius faced many challenges, both within the Church and without. One of his first tasks was to deal with the antipope, Gregory VIII, who had been elected by a faction of cardinals opposed to Gelasius II. Honorius was able to negotiate a settlement with Gregory, in which Gregory renounced his claim to the papacy and recognized Honorius as the legitimate pope.
Honorius also faced the ongoing problem of the Investiture Controversy. Although he had been a strong supporter of the papacy’s position on this issue, as pope he was forced to compromise in order to maintain peace with the Holy Roman Empire. In 1122, he signed the Concordat of Worms with Emperor Henry V, which recognized the emperor’s right to invest bishops with secular authority, while granting the pope the right to invest them with spiritual authority.
Honorius was also involved in the ongoing struggle for control of Sicily, which was then under the rule of the Normans. In 1122, he excommunicated Roger II, who had declared himself king of Sicily without papal approval. However, Honorius was eventually forced to make peace with Roger, who promised to recognize papal authority over the Church in Sicily.
Despite these challenges, Honorius was a popular and respected pope. He was known for his piety, his commitment to reform, and his generosity to the poor. He also worked to strengthen the authority of the papacy, and he made several important appointments to the College of Cardinals.
Honorius II died on February 13, 1130, after a short pontificate of just over 6 years. He was buried in the Lateran Basilica in Rome. Although he faced many challenges during his time as pope, he is remembered as a wise and pious leader who worked tirelessly for the good of the Church.