Pope John XVIII
|Papacy began||January 1004|
|Papacy ended||July 1009|
Rapagnano, Papal States
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Pope John XVIII (Latin: Ioannes PP. XVIII, Italian: Giovanni XVIII; died June or July 1009) was the head of the Catholic Church from January 1004 to his death in 1009. He was born Fasanius at Rapagnano, near Ascoli Piceno, the son of a Roman priest named Leo.
During his whole pontificate he was allegedly subordinate to the head of the Crescentii clan who controlled Rome, the patricius (an aristocratic military leader) John Crescentius III. This period was disrupted by conflicts between the Ottonian Emperor Henry II and Arduin of Ivrea, who had styled himself King of Italy. Rome was wracked with bouts of plague, and Saracens operating freely out of Sardinia ravaged the Tyrrhenian coasts.
As Pope, John XVIII occupied his time mainly with details of ecclesiastical administration. He authorized a new Diocese of Bamberg to serve as a base for missionary activity among the Slavs, a concern of Henry II's. He also adjudicated a squabble between the abbot of Fleury and the bishops of Sens and Orléans.
Ultimately he abdicated and, according to one catalog of Popes, retired to a monastery, where he died shortly afterwards. His successor was Pope Sergius IV.
Confusion over ordinals
Pope John XVIII was only the seventeenth pope called John, because John XVI (997–998) was an antipope according to official reckoning. His status as an antipope was not recognized at the time, however, so the true sixteenth Pope John called himself John XVII. The true seventeenth pope called John took the regnal number XVIII. The true sequence of numbering has never been corrected.
- Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI, (HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), 168.
|Catholic Church titles|