The Tenth Century
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901 The Magyars raided Carinthia (~the western part of modern Austria).

901 In around this year, the patriarch of Constantinople published a list of bishoprics.  The list, known as the Taxis, showed 505 bishoprics, 405 of them in Asia.  Fifty-four of the bishoprics were also metropolitanates, and 50 were autocephalous archbishoprics.  The highest ranking metropolitanates were Caesarea-Mazacha, Ephesus, Heraclea in Thrace, and Ancyra.  European metropolitanates were lower in rank, the highest, Thrace, being sixteenth.

901 In February, Pope Benedict IV crowned Louis III the Blind German emperor.

902 The Saracens conquered Taormina, the last stronghold on the island controlled by the Roman (Byzantine) Empire.  Most of the island had fallen to the Saracens by 859.

903 Pope Leo V (903) was murdered by Sergius III (904-11), shortly to succeed him to the papacy.

905 The Saracens destroyed the library of the monastery of Novalesa.  More than six thousand, five hundred volumes were lost.

906St. Boris-Michael of Bulgaria (820-906) died.  Boris had been king of Bulgaria when he came to believe in Christ.  He wrote to the emperor in Constantinople telling him that he wished to be baptized.  The Patriarch Photius sent a bishop, and afterwards corresponded with Boris.  Toward the end of his life, he retired to a monastery.

The work of translating Greek literature into Slavonic was undertaken in Bulgaria at about this time, largely through the efforts of the royal monastery of St. Panteleimon.  In 907, a priest named Constantine translated Athanasius’s Discourse against the Arians into Slavonic.  The works of St. John of Damascus were also translated, as was St. Basil the Great’s Hexaemeron.  The Bulgarian king, Symeon (Boris’ third son) oversaw a translation of some of St. John Chrysostom’s works.

906 The Magyars conquered Moravia.

906 On Christmas day, the patriarch of Constantinople, Nicholas Mysticus, closed the gates of St. Sophia in the emperor Leo VI’s face.  This act was to protest Leo’s fourth marriage.

907 The Russian prince Oleg sailed to Constantinople and obtained a treaty regulating the privileges of Russian merchants within the empire.  The treat was ratified in 911.

909 William of Aquitaine founded a monastery at Cluny which was to play an important role in the reform of the church in the West and the revival of the monastic life.

911 First Norse settlement in what later became known as Normandy.  The West Frankish King Charles the Simple (898-922) settled a group of Vikings under a certain Rollo in the vicinity of Rouen.

913 The Magyars raided Saxony, Thuringia, and Swabia.

913 Symeon of Bulgaria laid siege to Constantinople.  Symeon lifted the siege when given the title Emperor of Bulgaria and promised that one of his daughters would (eventually) marry the emperor Constantine, then a minor.  This agreement was reneged upon when Zoe, Constantine’s mother, took control of the government.  War ensued, continuing sporadically through 924.

914 Theodora, the ruler of Rome, had John, bishop of Ravenna, transferred to become John X (914-28), bishop of Rome.  He had been her lover, and, under her patronage, had progressed in rank from simple cleric to bishop.  Theodora’s daughter Marozia reportedly bore a son, John, by Pope Sergius III (904-11).  Marozia was presumably sired by Theodora’s husband Theophylact, an ally of Sergius.  Marozia’s son John became bishop of Rome in 931 (John XI).

915 In August, the armies of Pope John X, Duke Alberic I of Spoleto, and the senator Theophylact defeated a Saracen force on the Garigliano River.

915 In December, Pope John X crowned King Berengar I (915-24) of Italy emperor.

916 The Italian emperor Berengar I (915-24), with the dukes of Spoleto and Benevento, drove the Saracens from Campania.

917 East Anglia, a Viking kingdom, conquered by the king of Wessex.

917 The Magyars raided southern Germany and Alsace.

918 Rollo, lord of the Vikings near Rouen, invited the monks of St. Audoen to return to their monastery.  See 876 above.

920+ A priest named Gabriel sent from the Roman (Byzantine) Empire as a missionary to the Magyars. 

922 Ibn Fadlan, an Arab traveler, described Rus sacrifices for successful trading missions.  Clearly Christianity had yet to penetrate deeply into the Rus nation.

924 The Magyars attacked Pavia in northern Italy (south of Milan), sacking 44 churches.  (See 899.)  Magyars also defeated German forces near the Lech River (a tributary of the Danube).

924 In about this year, Symeon of Bulgaria laid waste to Serbia.

924 When Berengar was assassinated, Pope John X (914-28) made an alliance with King Hugh of Italy.  This action enraged Marozia, who was a Roman senator.  She later had John imprisoned (see 928).

925 At the request of the pope, a synod of the clergy of Dalmatia forbade the Slavonic liturgy, except where a shortage of Latin-speaking clergy made it necessary.

925 The Aleppo Codex - a portion of the Hebrew Old Testament - was copied in ~ this year.  See note on the Leningrad Codex, 1008.

925 A young boy named Pelayo was martyred in Cordoba, Spain.  He had been given as a hostage in exchange for the release of Bishop Hermogius of Tuy, his uncle.

926 Symeon’s Bulgar forces devastated by King Tomislav’s Croatians.

927 An independent Bulgarian patriarchate was formed after the death of Symeon.  To mitigate the influence the Bulgarian government would exert over him, the patriarch’s see was placed at Silistria, on the Danube, far from the capital, Preslav.

928 Pope John X (914-28) was murdered by suffocation while imprisoned in the Castel Sant’ Angelo in Rome (see 924).

929 On September 28, Wencelaus (Vaclav, born ~907), king of Bohemia, murdered by his brother Boleslav at the door of a church while on his way to mass.  Wencelaus’s Christian grandmother had been murdered by his pagan mother Drahomira (Dragomir), who ruled until Wencelaus came of age in 924/5.  Boleslav’s action was part of a conspiracy against Wencelaus motivated by the king’s submission to the German king Henry I the Fowler (919-936) in the face of a threatened German invasion in 929.  Boleslav moved his brother’s remains to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague in 932 after miracles began to occur at Wencelaus’ tomb.  He is regarded as the patron saint of Bohemia and is the subject of the nineteenth century Christmas carol, “Good King Wencelaus.”  (Aside - the liturgy in Bohemia at the time was celebrated in Old Church Slavonic.)

931 In late February or early March, Marozia, leader of the Cresentii family, had her son John consecrated pope (John XI, 931-935).  John may have been the son of Sergius III, who was reportedly Marozia’s lover.

932 Pope John XI sent legates to Constantinople to consecrate the Roman (Byzantine) emperor Romanus I’s sixteen-year-old son as patriarch of Constantinople.  This action added to the contempt many in the Eastern church felt for the West.

933 A Magyar force was defeated at Gotha.

933 Sometime between this year and 956, Tsar Peter of Bulgaria received a letter from Theophylact Lecapenus, patriarch of Constantinople, providing advice on how to deal with the Bogomils.  This heretical sect was similar in doctrine to the Paulicians, holding that the body is evil because created by the evil one, the god of the Old Testament.  The Bogomils forbade marriage, condemning it as the devil’s law.  They denied the Incarnation, because the good God could not have stained himself by contacting wicked matter.  They took their name from the priest Bogomil (Theophilus), the sect’s founder.  The Bogomils may have been influenced by the Paulicians, introduced into the Balkans in 757.  (For a description of Bogomil behavior and attitudes, see 970.)

935 Marozia’s son Alberic II deposed and imprisoned her.  He confined his half-brother Pope John XI to the Lateran, where the latter died this year.  Alberic II’s father was Alberic I, duke of Spoleto.

936 Otto the Great (936-973) was crowned king of the Germans in Aachen by the archbishops of Mainz and Cologne.  He was given Charlemagne’s sword, scepter, and Sacred Lance (said to be the spear that had been thrust into Christ’s side).  Otto established close control over the church, particularly through what came to be called “lay investiture.”  That is, Otto exercised the right to determine who would fill the higher church offices. 

936 Death of Archbishop Unni of Hamburg-Bremen while on a mission trip to Birka in Sweden.  Before entering Sweden, Unni had ordained priests for the church in Denmark.

939-57 During this period the Hamdanid emir Sayf al-Dawla conducted raids into Armenia, the region near Melitene, and Cappadocia, burning villages and the surrounding countryside and enslaving many prisoners.

940+ A group of Magyars led by a certain Bultsu was baptized in Constantinople.  Constantine Porphyrogenitus (Constantine VII, 913-59) stood as godfather.  Bultsu later apostatized (see 955, the battle of Lechfeld).  A bit later, the Magyar chief Gyula was baptized in Constantinople.  He brought a monk named Hierotheus home with him.  Hierotheus converted many to the faith.  The Roman (Byzantine) influence among the Magyars was concentrated east of the Tisza (Theiss) River.

942 Pope Stephen VIII (939-42) died from mutilation.

943 Magyars invaded Italy again.

945 A peace treaty between the Roman Empire and Prince Igor of Kiev indicates that there was a Christian community and church building in Kiev by this date.

946 Death of St. John of Rila, who had re-invigorated monasticism in Bulgaria.

949 A manuscript containing the work of the pharmacologist Dioscorides, who had flourished in the first century, was presented by the Romans as a gift at the court in Cordoba.

950 By the tenth or eleventh century, the horse collar was in use in northern Europe.  This allowed oxen to be replaced by horses in the fields, increasing food production.  The horse collar may have originated in Bactria in the 6th century as a camel harness. 

950 In about this year the Bulgarian tsar Peter sent a letter to Theophylact, patriarch of Constantinople (933-56), asking advice on how to deal with an anti-clerical religious movement that was making headway in his country.  To Theophylact, the movement resembled Paulicianism (see 719), and he sent the tsar a catechism and a collection of arguments to use against the heretics. 

950 Eleutherios of Paphlagonia died in about this year.  In the monastery he founded in Lycaonia, each monk was allowed two wives.  They were not to have sexual relations:  the proximity of wives without sexual intercourse served to prove the monks’ victory over lust.  There were, however, charges of scandal.  Eleutherios also taught that baptism and communion were worthless, as were venerating the cross or the Theotokos.  The patriarch of Constantinople Patriarch Polyeuktos (956-70) attempted to suppress the monastery, but it lingered until it was condemned during the patriarchate of Alexius the Studite (1025-43).

951 The German king Otto I (Otto the Great) took control of northern Italy and made himself king of the Lombards.

953 An ambassador from Germany met with Bishop John of Cordoba.  John reportedly attributed pagan (Islamic) rule to the sinfulness of the Christians.  He said, “provided no harm is done to our religion, we obey them [the Muslim rulers] in all else, and do their commands in all that does not affect our faith.”

954 Death of Eric Bloodaxe, last Viking king of York.  Eric, who had arrived in England in about 947, died a Christian.

955 The Magyars raided as far west as Burgundy.  The German Emperor Otto I defeated them at the Battle of Lechfeld (near Augsburg), and the Magyars subsequently settled in Pannonia, modern Hungary.  The Magyar leader Bultsu, who had converted to Christianity (see 940+), was hanged at Regensburg for apostasy.

955 Octavian, an eighteen-year-old, became bishop of Rome, John XII (955-963).  He was the son of Alberic II, Duke of Spoleto, who ruled Rome.  Alberic in turn was the second son of Marozia (see 914).  Like his grandmother, John was a man of great sexual appetite, often rewarding his lovers with tracts of papal land.  Alberic had ruled Rome well for twenty years since overthrowing his mother and, during his reign, the bishop of Rome had a purely spiritual office.  But he insured that his son Octavian would be both temporal ruler and pope.  The papal practice of having dual names began with John/Octavian.

Of the 25 popes who came to power between 955 and 1057, 13 were selected by the local Roman nobility and 12 by German emperors.

957 Prince Igor of Kiev’s widow, Olga, traveled to Constantinople and was baptized by the patriarch, taking the name Helen.  When she returned to Kiev, she built a church dedicated to the Holy Wisdom. 

958 Sometime between his ascent to the throne of Denmark in this year upon the death of his father, Gorm the Old, and 961, King Harald accepted Christianity.  Harald was reportedly impressed by a priest named Poppo whose hand suffered no damage when pressed to hot iron.  Poppo became bishop of Wurzburg in 961, possibly his reward for successful missionary work, bestowed by his sponsor, the German Emperor Otto I.  (At this time, the king of the Danes controlled both Denmark and southern Sweden and Norway - and thus trade by water between the North and Baltic seas,)

959 Olga of Kiev sent an embassy to Otto the Great.  He, in turn, sent Adalbert, a monk of Trier and later archbishop of Magdeburg, Germany, who remained in Kiev from 961-61, but without success.

960+ A certain Sigefrid ordained bishop of Norway.

961 The Roman (Byzantine) Empire recovered Crete.

962 To associate himself with Charlemagne, the German Emperor Otto, wearing Charlemagne’s mantle, was crowned emperor in Rome by John XII (on February 2).  Thus began the Holy Roman Empire.  John had sent for Otto to protect him from the Lombard duke Berengar.  Soon after his coronation, Otto asserted that future bishops of Rome would be required to swear fealty to the Holy Roman Emperor:  A treaty between the emperor and the papacy, known as the Privilegium Ottonianum, was concluded 11 days after Otto’s coronation.  By this treaty, the pope was confirmed in his role as temporal lord over papal territories, but papal elections were to be ratified by the emperor.  The alliance increased papal control in northern Italy (e.g., Milan and Ravenna), and, since Otto hoped to conquer the Roman (Byzantine) south, offered the promise of renewed papal jurisdiction there.  (Sicily and southern Italy had been lost to the papacy in 732, at the hands of the iconoclastic emperor Leo III.)

962 Olga’s son Svyatoslav became prince of Kiev (see 959).  Svyatoslav supported paganism, reportedly rejecting conversion to Christianity with the words, “My retainers will laugh at me.” 

962/3 The Great Lavra monastery was established by Saint Athanasios (Athanasius) of Trebizond this year.  This was the first monastery on the peninsula of Mount Athos.  The emperor Nikephoros Phokas (963-69) supported Athanasios’s efforts.  Prior to this time, Mount Athos was dominated by hermits, many of whom resented Athanasios’s innovations.

963 The German emperor Otto I called a council in St. Peter’s basilica in Rome.  Pope John XII had urged rebellion when the emperor issued the Priviligium Ottonianum, which required the pope to swear fealty to him.  Otto’s council deposed John XII on 4 December on the grounds of rebellion and disreputable moral conduct.  At Otto’s direction, Leo VIII, a layman, was elected pope (963-65).

964 When the German emperor Otto I was safely away from Rome, John XII, recently deposed from the papacy, called a synod which deposed Leo VIII.  Leo fled to the emperor for protection.

964 In May, Pope John XII died from the effects of a beating he had taken at the hands of a man who found him in bed with his wife.  At the time, Otto was on his way to Rome to depose John for conspiring with the Magyars and Constantinople and to reinstate Leo VIII as pope.  John was dissatisfied with the moral ways Otto had attempted to force upon him.

964 Mieszko, ruler of Poland, married the daughter of Boleslas I of Bohemia.  The bride was named Dobrava.

964 After John XII died, the Roman citizens elected Benedict V (964-66) pope.  The German emperor Otto I was enraged, since his choice, Leo VIII, had already been consecrated pope.

964 In June, the German emperor Otto I called a synod reinstated Leo VIII as pope.  Otto sent Benedict V away to Hamburg.  [Leo VIII is identified as pope on the Vatican’s official list, printed in the Annuario Pontificio.  Some Roman Catholic lists simply skip from John XII to John XIII.]

965 Tsar Peter of Bulgaria demanded the payment due him from the Roman empire according to the peace treaty of 927.  The emperor Nicephorus Phocas engaged the Russians to attack Bulgaria.

965 The Eastern Roman Empire recovered Cyprus.

965 On 1 October, the German emperor Otto I chose John XIII (965-72) to be pope.  The nobility in Rome opposed this choice and, in December, they kidnapped John.  Otto rescued him the following year.

966 Mieszko of Poland baptized, having been converted through the efforts of this wife, Dobrava.

967 A Russian army under Svyatoslav, prince of Kiev, crossed the Danube at the behest of the Roman emperor Nicephorus Phocas and destroyed the Bulgarian army.  Svyatoslav intended to place his new capital at Little Preslav, near the Danube delta.  The Russians then planned a campaign against the Romans, their former allies.

967 On Christmas day, Pope John XIII crowned the twelve-year-old prince Otto II German emperor.

968 Magdeburg became an archbishopric, sanctioned by Pope John XIII (965-72).  The German Emperor Otto I intended it to be the metropolitan see for the Slavs on the east side of the Elbe and Saale Rivers, who were in the process of conversion to Christianity (but see 983 below, the Wends).

968 A bishop named John set up a mission station for evangelizing the Poles at Poznan (Pozen).

968 When Liutprand, bishop of Cremona, visited Constantinople in this year, he was unimpressed by the Greek bishops.  Unlike Western bishops, they were not commonly wealthy or influential politically.

969 Beginning of the Fatimid rule over Egypt.  Shi’ites, the Fatimids were relatively tolerant of Jews and Christians, and many were employed in government administrative offices.  The Fatimid Caliph Al-Mu’izz (969-975) permitted the construction of new churches and the renovation of older ones.  He also allowed Muslims who had originally been Copts to return to their former faith.  Fatimid rule continued until 1171.

970 The Bulgarian priest Cosmas wrote an account of the doctrine of the Bogomils:  “They say that everything exists by the will of the Devil: the sky, the sun, the stars, the air, man, churches, crosses; all that comes from God they ascribe to the Devil; in brief, they consider all that moves on earth, animate and inanimate, to be of the Devil.

“In appearance the heretics are lamb-like, gentle, modest and silent, and pale from hypocritical fasting.  They do not talk idly, nor laugh loudly, nor give themselves airs.  They keep away from the sight of men, and outwardly they do everything so as not to be distinguished from Orthodox Christians.  … The people, on seeing their great humility, think that they are Orthodox and able to show them the path of salvation: they approach and ask them how to save their souls.  Like a wolf that wants to seize a lamb, they first cast their eyes downwards, sigh and answer with humility.  … Wherever they meet any simple or uneducated man, they sow the tares of their teaching, blaspheming the traditions and rules of holy Church.

“They teach their own people not to obey their lords, they revile the wealthy, hate the tsar, ridicule the elders, condemn the boyars, regard as vile in the sight of God those who serve the tsar, and forbid every servant to work for his master.”

971 The Roman emperor John Tzimisces (John I, 969-76) crushed the Russian forces in the Balkans and restored the northern border of the empire to the Danube.  Imperial control had not extended this far north for approximately 300 years.

971 Pilgrim became bishop of Passau (971-91).  He is believed to have invented episodes in the history of the see of Passau to aggrandize his own bishopric relative to Salzburg.  In a letter to Pope Benedict VII (974-83), Pilgrim indicated that he was too occupied with the conversion of the Hungarians (Magyars) to travel to Rome.  He also stressed his adherence to the filioque clause - an important point since Roman (Byzantine) missionaries were also laboring in Hungary.

972 The Roman emperor John Tzimisces (John I, 969-76) conquered eastern Bulgaria.

972 Pope John XIII (974-83) crowned the Roman (Byzantine) princess Theophano empress, immediately before she married Otto II.

973 Wolfgang, formerly a monk of Reichenau, ordained bishop of Regensburg.  At the behest of Udalric, bishop of Augsburg, Wolfgang had been a missionary to the Magyars.  He continued to press for Magyar conversions until he died in 994.

973 Death of Otto I, emperor of Germany.

974 Cresentius I, patricius of Rome, led a revolt against Pope Benedict VI (973-74).  He imprisoned Benedict in the Castel Sant’ Angelo and had him assassinated.  The cardinal deacon who ordered Benedict’s murder became the Pope Boniface VII (974, 984-85) (considered an antipope by the Roman Catholic church).  The German emperor’s local representative, Count Sicco, expelled Boniface, and Benedict VII (974-83) became pope.  Boniface fled with the church treasury to Constantinople.  (Cresentius was a member of a powerful Roman family known as the Cresentii, who owned extensive property in the Sabina.  They remained a force in Rome through 1012.)

975 John Tzimisces transplanted Paulicians to Thrace near Philippopolis.  The Paulicians had a warlike reputation, and John intended they would help defend the empire.  For Paulician beliefs, see 719.  For their warlike character, see 858, 860, 867/68, 872.  Paulicians had previously been relocated to Thrace by Constantine V, circa 746.

976 Esato (Judith), a Jewish queen of Aksum (Axum), oppressed the Christian population of that kingdom.  Aksum was located in what is now northern Ethiopia.  Its kings had converted to Christianity in the fourth century.  In the sixth century (532), Aksum's influence spread temporarily to southern Arabia, Himyar (~Yemen) becoming a vassal state.

976 When the Roman emperor John Tzimisces died, there was conflict in the capital over the succession.  Samuel, son of a provincial governor in Macedonia, took this opportunity to establish a kingdom which grew to occupy most of the former Bulgarian kingdom.  War ensued between Samuel’s kingdom and the empire, ending in 1014 with Basil II’s victory in the pass of Kleidion.

978 Vikings raided Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain (the kingdom of Leon).

979 In around this year, a monastery for Georgians was founded at Mount Athos (see 963).

~980 Geza became the first Magyar (Hungarian) ruler to accept Christianity.  It seems, however, that Geza simply added the Christian god to his pantheon.  (With the settlement of the Magyars in Hungary after the battle of Lechfeld, 955, east-west trade through the region grew.)

980 The Norse ruler of Dublin, Olaf Cuaran, abdicated, then sailed to Iona as a penitent.  Formerly king of York, Cuaran had been baptized in King Edmund of Wessex’s court between 941 and 944.

980 Symeon, later known as the “New Theologian,” became abbot at St. Mamas’s monastery near Constantinople.  Symeon stressed the importance of striving for a vision of the Divine Light through prayer.  His tenure as abbot ended in 1009 due to a dispute with the patriarch of Constantinople.

981 Zamora in the kingdom of Leon was destroyed by Muslim raiders.  Four thousand prisoners were deported.

981 Pope Benedict VII (974-83) terminated the bishopric of Merseburg, a staging point for the conversion of the Slavs.  Many consider this action to have slowed their conversion in central Europe.

981 Acting against simony, Pope Benedict VII (974-83) wrote an encyclical letter that condemned the taking of money in exchange for conferring holy orders.

982 Eric the Red discovered Greenland.

982 The German Emperor Otto II (973-83) lost a battle to the Saracens at Cap Colonne in Calabria.  This led to the Wendish uprising of the following year.

983 Otto II appointed Peter, bishop of Pavia, to the papacy.  He became John XIV (983-84).  As a Lombard, he was the first non-Roman pope in recent times.  The citizens of Rome were in a turmoil.  The Cresentii, a noble Roman family (see 974), opposed his election.

983 The Wends revolted against the Germans.  Germans had made incursions east of the Elbe, the Wends’ homeland, during this century.  The pagan Wends - Slavic tribes:  Wagrians, Abotrites, Polabrians, Rugians, etc., - pushed the Germans back as far as Hamburg.  The bishoprics of Brandenburg and Havelburg were destroyed.  Nunneries at Kalbe and Hillersleben were raided.  Magdeburg was protected by an army raised by the archbishop.

983 Aladbert (Vojtech), a Bohemian nobleman, became the first non-German bishop of Prague.  His appointment was supported by the German Emperor Otto II but opposed by Duke Boleslas II of Bohemia.  Friction increased when Adalbert attempted to reform Bohemian ethics.  He criticized their polygamy, clerical marriages, and the sale of Christians into slavery.

983 Death of the German emperor Otto II, while on campaign against Venice.  Upon Otto II’s death, his son Otto III (983-1002) was named king of Germany.

983 Upon learning of Otto II’s death, Pope Boniface VII returned to Rome from Constantinople.  Supported by the Cresentii, Boniface imprisoned Pope John XIV (Peter of Pavia), then had arranged his murder.

985 Pope Boniface VII (974, 984-85) was murdered by a Roman mob.

985 John XV (985-96) became pope.  His election was the work of the patricius John I (probably the son of Cresentius I (see 974) and a member of the powerful Cresentii family).

985 Barcelona was burned down by Muslim raiders.  Its inhabitants were killed or taken prisoner.

988 Aladbert, bishop of Prague, deserted his see.  He traveled to Italy and entered the monastery of San Alessio.

989The conversion of Russia.  Vladimir of Kiev (son of Svyatoslav and known as Vladimir Ravnoapostolny, “ranking with the apostles”) was baptized and married to the Roman (Byzantine) princess Anna, the sister of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II.  Mass baptisms followed Vladimir’s.  Vladimir later established bishoprics at Novgorod and Belgorod and a seminary at Kiev for the instruction of native clergy.

991 Gerbert of Aurillac, recently elected Archbishop of Reims, professed Manichean doctrines:  rejection of the Old Testament and Dualism.  Gerbert was later appointed Pope Sylvester II (999-1003).

992 Adalbert of Prague returned to his see at the command of the archbishop of Mainz.  But he left for Rome in 994 after clashing with Duke Boleslas II again.  In Rome, Adalbert became part of a group of intellectuals in the court of the German Emperor Otto III (983-1002).

993 Pope John XV (985-96) performed the first “solemn canonization” of a saint – Bishop St. Ulrich of Augsburg.

994 Olaf Tryggvason, later to be king of Norway, confirmed, in England.

995 Olaf Tryggvason traveled to Norway, intent upon becoming king.  One of his companions was an English bishop.  Olaf ruled from 995 to 999.

995 Death of King Eric the Victorious of Sweden.  Eric had converted to Christianity, but apostatized before his death.  Eric’s son Olof (995-1022) was reportedly converted to Christianity by an English bishop.  Olof’s mother, incidentally, was a daughter of Duke Mieszko of Poland.  Olof founded a bishopric at Skara, north of modern Stockholm, whose first incumbent was Thorgaut, sent from Hamburg-Bremen.

995 According to Agi Thorgilson’s Islendingabok (circa 1120), King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway sent a German bishop named Thangbrand to convert the Icelanders in this year.  Tryggvason reportedly encouraged conversion by threatening to kill or disfigure several Icelandic hostages he held in Norway.  In the year 1000, the Icelanders accepted Christianity.

995 King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway reportedly sailed to Orkney and forced Sigurd the Stout, a lord of northern Scotland, to accept Christianity. 

996/7 Adalbert, the bishop of Prague in self-imposed exile in Rome, was chosen as missionary to the Poles.  His selection was astute, since the Poles and Bohemians were at odds over lands in Silesia, and Adalbert was not a friend of the Bohemian ruler Boleslas II.  Adalbert traveled to Gdansk, then east across the Vistula River, where the pagan Prussians killed him in April 997.  His body was returned to Gniezo and buried.

996 Built by craftsmen from the Roman (Byzantine) Empire, the Tithe Church was consecrated in Kiev in this year.  The Old Church Slavonic liturgy was introduced by priests from Bulgaria.

996 Pope John XV asked Otto III for assistance against Cresentius II, leader of the powerful Cresentii family in Rome, who was leading a rebellion against him.  Otto was declared king of the Lombards in Pavia.

996 Pope John XV died in March.  The German emperor Otto III (983-1002), who arrived in Rome after John had died, appointed Gregory V (996-99), a twenty-three year old grandson of the German emperor Otto I, to the papacy.  Gregory, the first German pope, was consecrated on May 3.  On May 21, he crowned his cousin Otto emperor.

996 Pope Gregory V anathematized King Robert II the Pious of France.  Robert had married his first cousin Bertha in defiance of canon law.

996 In the autumn, after Otto III returned to Germany, Cresentius II led a revolt in Rome.  Pope Gregory V fled the city. 

997 In Rome, Cresentius II convinced Johannes Philagathus, formerly abbot of the monastery of Nonantola, Italy, Otto III’s godfather, and ambassador to Constantinople for the German king, to accept the papacy.  Against the wise advise of Abbot Nilus of Rossano, Johannes became Pope John XVI (997-98).  From exile, Pope Gregory V excommunicated Cresentius.

997 Before Geza of Hungary’s death in this year, his son Waik married Gisela, Duke Henry of Bavaria’s sister.  (Henry was to become the German Emperor Henry II in 1002.)  The marriage indicates that Waik was already a Christian, since it would not have occurred otherwise.  Waik adopted the Christian name Stephen.  (See 1001 for further events in the conversion of Hungary.)  Stephen’s marriage to Gisela was likely motivated to prevent Hungary’s being absorbed into the expanding Roman Empire.

997 Bishop Ramward of Minden carried a processional cross into battle against the Slavs.

998 Death of St. Nikon the Penitent, a missionary in the Mani peninsula.  By this time, most of the Slavs of the Balkan region had been converted to Christianity through the efforts of Orthodox missionaries.

997 The Tome of Sisinnios, patriarch of Constantinople from 995-1000, established new standards for the degrees of consanguinity in marriage.

998 In February, the German emperor Otto III took Rome.  He beheaded Cresentius (April 29); deposed, blinded, and disfigured John XV; and reinstated Gregory V.  John XV was saved from execution through Abbot Nilus’s intercession, but his eyes, nose, lips, tongue, and hands were removed.

998 Odilo of Cluny instituted the observance of All Saints’ Day on November 2 (see 835 above).  Given Cluny’s influence, this practice spread, though it was never officially sanctioned by the church in Rome.

999 Gerbert of Aurillac, an intellectual, elected Pope Sylvester II (999-1003).  Gerbert had once been archbishop of Rheims.  He had replaced a man who had been deposed without papal consent.  As archbishop of Rheims, Gerbert had fought against papal interference in local church affairs.  As Pope Sylvester II, Gerbert tried to strengthen papal influence.

Sylvester I had been pope during Constantine’s reign.  Gerbert chose the name to symbolize the ideal of Christian Roman empire, with the German emperor Otto III at its head.  Gerbert, a Frenchman, is said to have entertained Manichean doctrines (see 991).

999 According to legend, Eric the Red’s son Leif converted to Christianity during a trip to King Olaf Tryggvason’s Norway.

1000 The German Emperor Otto III visited Gniezno (Gnesen) in Poland to venerate the shrine of Adalbert.  At the Congress of Gniezno, with the consent of Pope Sylvester II, Otto set up the archbishopic of Gniezno and the bishoprics of Cracow, Wroclaw, and Kolobrzeg.  Adalbert became the national patron saint.

1000 Castile was burned by Muslims.  The portion of the population that escaped slaughter was enslaved and deported.

1000 By this time, the horse shoe was in use in northern Europe.  It allowed horses to be used in all weather and on rougher terrain, further increasing productivity.  With the introduction of the three-field crop rotation system, the center of wealth in Europe began to move northward, and the population began to rise.

By this year, the papal chancery consistently dated documents using the Anno Domini system.