#136 - Pope John XIV
Pope from December 983 - August 20, 984
Died: August 20, 984
Birth name: Pietro Canepanova
Give me the scoop on John XIV.
John XIV was born Pietro Canepanova, and grew up in Pavia, a region of Northwest Italy. Having served as imperial chancellor to Italy for Emperor Otto II, John XIV was elected pope late in the Fall of 983, thanks to the pair’s working relationship. Unfortunately, John’s buddy Otto died less than a month after his consecration, which left the empire in a sorry state. Otto’s heir, Otto III, was only three years old, which meant control fell to Otto II’s mother, Adelaide, and widow, Theophano. And we all know how well in-laws get along. On a neat side note, Otto was in Rome at the time of his death, which allowed the pope the unique opportunity to anoint his friend before sending him Home. John reigned less than a year, dying August 20, 984.
What was he known for?
After Otto II’s untimely death, the most recent antipope, Boniface VII, saw his opportunity to charge back to Rome and usurp the Chair of Peter once again. Boniface had his followers imprison John XIV in the Castle of Sant’Angelo, where he would die four months later, a victim of either starvation or poisoning.
Pope John XIV was the first pope-elect since St. Peter himself to be named “Peter” (Pietro). It’s thought that the reason for him choosing to be called “John XIV” is due to the unwritten rule that St. Peter's name remain untouched, and that there should never be a “Peter II” by virtue of the former's unique status as the first Vicar of Christ. John XIV was the first of 11 men named “Peter” (or some variant of it) to be elected pope.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
In 984, Greenland was first settled by people from Iceland and Norway.
Coming tomorrow...Pope John XV
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Pope John XIV -
Pope John XIV -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 2:00AM