Pope Alexander II

Pope Alexander II (died 21 April 1073), born Anselmo da Baggio, was Pope from 1061 to 1073.

He was born in Milan. As Anselm I, bishop of Lucca, he had been an energetic coadjutor with Hildebrand of Sovana in endeavouring to suppress simony and enforce the clerical celibacy. The papal election of 1061, which Hildebrand had arranged in conformity with the papal decree of 1059 (see Pope Nicholas II), was not sanctioned by the imperial court of Germany. True to the practice observed in preceding papal elections, the German court nominated another candidate, Cadalus, bishop of Parma, who was proclaimed Pope at the council of Basel under the name of Honorius II. He marched to Rome and for a long time threatened his rival's position. At length, however, Honorius was forsaken by the German court and deposed by a council held at Mantua; Alexander II's position remained unchallenged.

In 1065, Alexander admonished Landulf VI of Benevento "that the conversion of Jews is not to be obtained by force." Also in the same year, Alexander called for a crusade against the Moors in Spain.

In 1066, he entertained an embassy from the illegitimate Duke of Normandy Guillaume II, Guillaume le B√Ętard, (after his successful invasion of England he came to be known as William the Conqueror) which had been sent to obtain his blessing for the Norman conquest of England. This he gave to them, gifting to them a papal ring, the Standard of St. Peter, and a papal edict to present to the English clergy saying that William was given the papal blessing for his bid to the throne. These favours were instrumental in the submission of the English church and people following the Battle of Hastings.

Alexander II oversaw the suppression of the "Alleluia" during the Latin Church's celebration of Lent. This is followed to this day, and in the Tridentine rite "Alleluia" is also omitted during the Advent season.

Alexander II was followed by his associate Hildebrand, who took the title of Gregory VII.

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