Pope John XVIII
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|Papacy began||January 1004|
|Papacy ended||July 1009|
Rapagnano, Papal States
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
|Other popes named John|
Pope John XVIII (Latin: Ioannes XVIII; died June or July 1009) was Pope and ruler of the Papal states from January 1004 (25 December 1003 - NS) to his abdication in June 1009. He was born Fasanius at Rapagnano, near Ascoli Piceno, the son of a Roman priest named Leo.
This period was disrupted by continuing conflicts between the Ottonian Emperor Henry II and Arduin of Ivrea, who had styled himself King of Italy in 1002 after the death of Emperor Otto III. Rome was wracked with bouts of plague, and Saracens operated freely out of the Emirate of Sicily ravaging 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 catalogue 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 17th 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 16th Pope John called himself John XVII. The true 17th 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) ISBN 978-0060878078. P. 168.
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