Pope John IX

Elected as the 116th Bishop of the Catholic Church, Pope John IX was considered an intelligent and moderate leader. He made sweeping changes in Rome that would go on to affect the region well after his death. Much of his work was dedicated to ending violence and restoring order in the Church.


There’s not a lot of recorded history about John IX. His birth name and birth date have long been lost. From the remaining information available, historians believe he was born around the year 840 in Tavoli.

His father was named Rampoaldo.

History with the Church

John IX was a leader within the Church long before he became pope. He was ordained as a Benedictine priest by Pope Formosus. Around this time, factions came to Rome and tried to shake up the papacy. The factions attempted to get their own candidate to the throne. Because John IX was highly favored by the Duke of Spoleto, those efforts were futile.

The rival candidate was then driven from the city and excommunicated. Meanwhile, John IX elevated to the position of Pope.


Pope John IX started his reign in early January of 898. Immediately after his election, he went on to rehabilitate the reputation of Pope Formosus. The controversial pope had been posthumously charged. His corpse was exhumed in an attempt to declare that his papacy was illegitimate.

John IX supported Formosus. He held councils in both Rome and Ravenna. The final decision was that Pope Formosus was valid and deserving of Christian burial. He even ordered that the records against Formosus be buried.

The Pope went on to restore the ranks of deposed clergy as well. Another big accomplishment was ending the custom of plundering the palaces of former popes after their death. This act helped to preserve history moving forward.

Quick Facts About Pope John IX

  • John IX was born sometime around the year 840 AD.
  • His birth name is not known, having been lost to history.
  • The exact date of Pope John IX’s death is unknown as well, though it occurred early in the year 900. Some records show that he died on January 5th, but this is speculation.
  • Pope John IX is thought to have died of natural causes. He was roughly 60 years old at the time of his death.
  • The papacy of Pope John IX started in January of 898.
  • His reign ended at the beginning of January 900 with his death.
  • Pope John IX was succeeded by Pope Benedict IV.

Interesting Facts About Pope John IX

  • Most of the information about Pope John IX’s life before and during his papacy has been lost. Even the dates of his election and death are not exact.

  • Many historians believe that Pope John IX got elected with the support of the Duke of Spoleto.

  • John IX opposed his rival candidate for the papacy. Using his position in the Church, John IX had him excommunicated. That rival would eventually become Pope Sergius III.

  • He had strong relations with Pope Formosus. His support of Formosus continued even after the former Pope’s death.

  • Pope John IX established Church hierarchy for the Moravians, a western Slavic group.

See the full list of Popes here.

All of the Popes that took the name “John”

There has been 21 popes that have taken the name of John.

John I (St.) (#53) (523 – 526)
John II (#56) (533 – 535)
John III (#61) (561 – 574)
John IV (#72) (640 – 642)
John V (#82) (685 – 686)
John VI (#85) (701 – 705)
John VII (#86) (705 – 707)
John VIII (#108) (872 – 882)
John IX (#117) (898 – 900)
John X (#123) (914 – 928)
John XI (#126) (931 – 935)
John XII (#131) (955 – 963)
John XIII (#134) (965 – 972)
John XIV (#137) (983 – 984)
John XV (#138) (985 – 996)
John XVII (#141) (1003)
John XVIII (#142) (1003 – 1009)
John XIX (#145) (1024 – 1032)
John XXI (#188) (1276 – 1277)
John XXII (#197) (1316 – 1334)
John XXIII (Blessed) (#262) (1958 – 1963)