Pope John XI

Pope John XI was the 125th pope of the Catholic Church. He reigned during a tumultuous time for the Church. The papacy did not have much control over Rome. It was influenced by aristocrats. Pope John XI was, perhaps, one of the best examples of noble influence over the papacy.

Background and History with the Church

John XI was born to a very noble family. His mother was Marozia. She was a powerful Roman senator who had Pope John X imprisoned. John XI’s father was reported to be Alberic I of Spoleto. Though, many accounts say that his actual father was Marozia’s lover, Pope Sergius III.

Before his papacy, he didn’t have much experience with the church. Marozia used her political influence to get John XI consecrated at a very young age. He was only 21 years old at the time.


Pope John XI’s inexperience with the Church did not matter. His mother was the de facto leader of Rome at the time of John XI’s consecration. As a result, he did her bidding.

He continued to serve her political needs until she was overthrown. This happened sometime in the middle of John XI’s papacy. Marozia was overthrown by her own son, Pope John XI’s half brother Alberic II.

Even after Marozia’s reign, Pope John XI had to serve the new self-declared ruler of Rome. Alberic II was considered tyrannical. He took over almost all of the papal duties. The only thing John XI could do was his spiritual duties. Alberic II took over both secular and ecclesiastical affairs.

Alberic II confined Pope John XI to the Lateran. He was not allowed to leave, making him a prisoner. He eventually died at the Lateran, ending his papacy.

Quick Facts About Pope John XI

  • John XI was born sometime around the year 910.
  • It’s unknown if John XI had a separate birthname. Due to his family, it’s probable that John was his birth name.
  • Pope John X died sometime in December in the year 935. His exact date of death is not known.
  • The Pope died while he was is in prison. He was deposed and arrested by his half brother, Alberic II. He was confined to the Lantern, where he later died.
  • John XI’s papacy started on March 15th, 931.
  • His papacy ended in December of 935 with his death. He was only25 years olf
  • Pope John XI was succeeded by Pope Leo VII.

Interesting Facts About Pope John XI

  • He ruled during a time in history called Saeculum obscurum. This was when the papacy was heavily influenced by the Counts of Tusculum.
  • Allegedly, Pope John XI’s father was Pope Sergius III. Though, this is speculation.
  • Pope John XI spent most of his papacy serving the political needs of his family.
  • He ended up getting imprisoned by his own half brother.
  • Pope John XI was one of the youngest popes in history. He was only 21 years old at the time of his consecration.

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)