Papacy of Pope Leo III Begins 795

Thursday, December 26, 0019

On the 26th of December 795, the day that Pope Adrian I was buried, Leo III was elected Pope.1 His election was supported by members of Adrian's the family, who held high office in Rome and assumed that Leo would be under their control.2 However, Leo proved to be independent and in 799 Adrian's nephews ambushed him. They attempted to blind him, and cut out his tongue, but Leo managed to escape and reach Charlemagne in Paderborn. Mutilation was thought to render him unfit for office3, but Leo recovered and his recovery was hailed as a miracle.4. His opponents, however, accused him of fornication, and perjury and requested that Charlemagne preside over a council to hear the charges.4