Benedict, the name of several popes of the Roman Catholic church. I. Benedict II., elected in 684, died in 685. He was a Roman, remarkable for Scriptural science, piety, and kindness to the poor. He caused the decrees of the sixth general council (against the Mono-thelites) to be accepted by the Spanish bishops, and induced the Greek emperor to give up the usurped right of confirming the election of the pope. II. Benedict III., a Roman, elected in 855, died April 8, 858. He is praised for meekness and benevolence, built and beautified churches in Rome, and in concert with Ethelwolf, king of the Anglo-Saxons, established an English college in Rome. He confirmed the deposition of Gregory, the unworthy bishop of Syracuse, pronounced by Ignatius, patriarch of Constantinople, which was the occasion of the subsequent deposition of Ignatius and intrusion of Photius in his place, and of the Greek schism. III. Benedict VIII., son of the count of Tusculum, and cardinal bishop of Porto, elected June 17, 1012, died in 1024. The German emperor Henry II. and his wife St. Cune-gunda were crowned by him.

He made two visits to Germany, during the latter of which he received the city of Bamberg as a present, afterward exchanged for Benevento. During his reign the Saracens attacked the pontifical territory, but were defeated and driven away by the troops of Benedict, after a bloody and obstinate battle of three days. The Greeks afterward invaded Apulia, but were driven out by the aid of the emperor Henry. Pope Benedict introduced the custom at Rome of singing the Nicenecreed during mass. He renewed the ordinances of the council of Nice relative to sacerdotal celibacy. He was succeeded by his brother, under the name of John XIX. IV. Benedict II, ( Nicolo Boccasini), born in Treviso in 1240, died in Perugia, July 6, 1304. He was general of the Dominicans when Boniface VIII. made him cardinal, and afterward bishop of Ostia and Viterbo, and employed him in many important affairs. He was a devoted partisan of Boniface, and remained with him at Anagni after all the other cardinals had fled. Succeeding Boniface in 1303, he composed the difficulties with France and Sicily, both of which kingdoms had been laid under an interdict. He was remarkable for humility.

On one occasion, when his mother presented herself at his court splendidly attired, he refused to recognize her until she had resumed the dress suitable to her humble state of life. He died by poison, and was beatified by Benedict XIV. He wrote commentaries on Job, the Psalms, the Apocalypse, and St. Matthew. V. Benedict XII. (Jacques de Novellis or Four-nier), born at Saverdun, France, died April 25, 1342. He was a Cistercian, and a nephew of John XXII., whom he succeeded in 1334 at Avignon. He was an eminent canonist and theologian, and a severe reformer. He defined the doctrine that the beatitude of the just and the punishment of the wicked commence before the final judgment. VI. Benedict XIII., of the princely house of Orsini, born in the kingdom of Naples in 1649, died Feb. 21,1730. He became a Dominican at an early age. Having with great reluctance accepted the dignities of bishop and cardinal, he continued to live as a simple monk, and devoted all his leisure hours to study and prayer. As a bishop he was devoted to his pastoral duties, and universally loved; and as cardinal he led what was called the party of the Zelasti, who were pledged to vote at the conclave for the candidate deemed by the college of cardinals the most worthy, without regard to any worldly or political interest.

He was chosen to succeed Innocent XIII. in 1724, and accepted the papal dignity under obedience to the command of the general of his order, with many tears. His principal efforts were directed to restore and uphold ecclesiastical discipline. He wrote homilies on the book of Exodus. VII. Benedut XIII., anti-pope. See Luna, Pedro de. VIII. Benedict XIV. (Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini), born of an ancient family at Bologna in 1675, died May 3, 1758. From his youth he devoted himself to study and science, especially to canon law and theology. After a long and laborious career in different offices of the Roman pre-lature, he was in 1728 made cardinal priest and archbishop of Ancona by Benedict XIII. In 1731 Clement XII. transferred him to Bologna, where he remained until his election to the papacy, which took place, most unexpectedly, Aug. 17, 1740. He was then 65 years of age, and he reigned 18 years. During the intervals of public business he contrived to apply himself to his favorite studies, and maintained a correspondence with all the most eminent writers of the day. He was a great patron of science, learning, the fine arts, and charitable institutions.

The complete collection of his works fills 15 folio volumes, and includes treatises on the beatification and canonization of saints, on the mass, on the church festivals, and on canonical and moral questions, besides his Instituttones Ecclesiasticae, and several volumes of Miscellanea. Many of these works were originally written in Italian.