Pope John V

Pope John V was known for his generosity with the poor. He served as the 82nd Pope. Unfortunately, he only served for a little over a year. At the time of his papacy, John V was quite ill. As a result, he died suddenly in his sleep and achieved very little during his reign.


Unlike most Popes before him, John V did not come from Rome. He was of Eastern origin. The Pope was born sometime around 635 in Antioch, which was an ancient Greek City. Today, the area of Antioch is part of modern-day Turkey.

History with the Church

Thanks to his fluency in Greek, John V was named papal legate to the Third Council of Constantinople. As a deacon, he also represented the Apopolistic See. He was favored by Emperor Constantine, which only helped to improve relations between Rome and the Empire.


John V was elected pope by the general public of Rome in 685. His election was a unique one because it didn’t require imperial approval. Emperor Constantine IV had removed that requirement after John V’s predecessor, Pope Benedict II. The Emperor decreed that the elected pope would be ordained pontiff without delay.

During his tenure as Pope, John V did a lot to help the poor. Thanks to the improvements with Byzantium, the Emperor reduced several taxes and even eliminated some outright.

His dedication to helping the poor was one of his biggest legacies. It’s believed that his generosity inspired some of his immediate predecessors.

John V spent most of his papacy with serious illness. He died in his sleep barely a year after his papacy started.

Quick Facts About Pope John V

  • Pope John V was born around 635 AD.
  • The Pope’s original birth name is not known.
  • John V died on August 2nd, 686.
  • After a little more than a year as Pope, John V suddenly died in his sleep. The exact cause of death is unknown. He was around the age of 51 at the time of his death, so it is thought that he died of natural causes.
  • Pope John V was officially consecrated on July 23rd, 685.
  • His papacy ended on August 2nd, 686, due to his death.
  • Pope John V was succeeded by Pope Conon.

Interesting Facts About Pope John V

  • Pope John V was the first pope of the Byzantine papacy that was consecrated without prior imperial approval.

  • He was the first of 10 consecutive Popes who originated in the East.

  • The Pope was elected by the general population of Rome.

  • During his papacy, John V distributed 1,900 gold coins to all clergy and monastic diaconies. The coins were distributed to help the poor.

  • His death came as a surprise, leading to a heated debate over who would succeed him.

  • The body of Pope John V was buried at the papal tombs in Old St. Peter’s Basilica. Unfortunately, his tomb was destroyed during a raid against Rome in 846.

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)