He narrowly avoided a fate worse than martyrdom when relatives of the previous Pope tried to depose him.
Before escaping, he came very close to having his tongue cut out and his eyes blinded. This would have produced a bizarre religious paradox of immensely convoluted proportions: An infallible, divinely approved Pope who was unable to see or speak.
Asserting his position, he crowned Charlemagne ‘Emperor of the Romans’ on Christmas Day in the Year of Our Lord 800. This allied the Church and the State. Those Popes were rapidly learning the tricks of the trade.