A pious and educated man, Pope John XIII is remembered favorably throughout history. He served as the 133rd pope. His tenure as pope was quite dramatic. He had a lot of opposers during his early years. However, he was able to accomplish many things politically that helped to improve the papal’s territorial claims in Italy.
Background and History with the Church
Born Pietro Canepanova, the future pope was born in Pavia. This city was the capital of the Kingdom of the Lombards. He joined the Church and eventually became the bishop of Pavia. Canepanova then went on to serve as the imperial archchancellor for Italy. He served under Emperor Otto II. His relationship with Otto II is what led to his election as Pope.
Pope John XIV was elected as pope late in 983. He was chosen by Otto II without any consultation. The clergy nor the people of Rome had any say in the matter. Thus, it was a somewhat controversial decision. Even Otto II’s own mother and wife wanted someone else.
Unfortunately, Emperor Otto II died shortly after the Pope’s consecration. His heir, Otto III was only three years old at the time. Suddenly, the Pope was without any protection.
Antipope Boniface VII took advantage of the controversy surrounding John XIV’s election. He went to Rome and had John XIV imprisoned at Castel Sant’Angelo. The Pope was then poisoned or starved.
Quick Facts About Pope John XIV
- The future Pope John XIV was born around the year 940.
- He was born as Pietro Canepanova. He adopted the name “John” during his consecration.
- Pope John XIV died on August 20th, 984. He was 44 years old.
- The Pope died in prison. He was captured and imprisoned by Antipope Boniface VII. The cause of death is thought to be either poisoning or starvation.
- The papacy of Pope John XIV began in late November or early December of 983.
- His papacy ended upon his death on August 20th, 984.
- Pope John XIV was officially succeeded by Pope John XV.
Interesting Facts About Pope John XIV
- Pope John XIV was only the fourth pope to change his name upon starting his papacy.
- Allegedly, he changed his name to avoid being linked to Saint Peter.
- The only document made by Pope John XIV that still exists is a letter to Archbishop Alo of Benevento. It was about church reform.
- Pope John XIV’s reign only lasted 263 days.
- His position was vulnerable due to the death of Otto II. The emperor’s death set off a series of events that lead to the death of Pope John XIV.