Pope John XIX

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John XIX
Bishop of Rome
Pope John XIX.jpg
Church Catholic Church
Diocese Rome
See Holy See
Papacy beganApril 1024 [1]
Papacy endedOctober 1032
Predecessor Benedict VIII
Successor Benedict IX
Personal details
Birth nameRomanus
Born Rome, Papal States
DiedOctober 1032
Rome, Papal States
Other popes named John

Pope John XIX (Latin : Ioannes XIX; died October 1032), born Romanus, was bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 1024 to his death. He belonged to the family of the powerful counts of Tusculum, succeeding his brother, Benedict VIII. Papal relations with the Patriarchate of Constantinople soured during John XIX's pontificate. He was a supporter of Emperor Conrad II and patron of the musician Guido of Arezzo.



Romanus was born in Rome. He was the third son of Count Gregory I of Tusculum and his wife, Mary. During the pontificate of his brother, Benedict VIII, Romanus held the temporal power in the city as consul and senator. Upon the death of Benedict, Romanus, a layman, was elected to succeed him. He was immediately ordained in all the orders in succession, and consecrated bishop in order to enable him to ascend the papal chair. He took the name of John. [2]


John XIX played a role in the process leading to the Schism of 1054 by rejecting a proposal by Patriarch Eustathius of Constantinople to recognise that patriarchate's sphere of interest in the east. [3] Against the grain of ecclesiastical history, John XIX agreed, upon being paid a large bribe, to recognize the patriarch of Constantinople's claim to the title of ecumenical bishop. However, this proposal excited general indignation throughout the Church, compelling him almost immediately to withdraw from the agreement.

John invited the celebrated musician, Guido of Arezzo, to visit Rome and explain the musical notation invented by him. He encouraged the Benedictine to instruct the Roman clergy in music. [4]

On the death of the Emperor Henry II in 1024, John gave his support to Emperor Conrad II, who along with his wife, Gisela of Swabia, was crowned with great pomp at St. Peter's Basilica on Easter of 1027. Two kings, Rudolph III of Burgundy and Cnut the Great of Denmark and England, took part in this journey to Rome. [2] Consistent with his role as a Christian king, Cnut went to Rome to repent for his sins, to pray for redemption and the security of his subjects, and to improve the conditions for pilgrims, as well as merchants, on the road to Rome. Rudolph had control of many of the toll gates. Negotiations being successful, the solemn word of the pope, Conrad and Rudolph was given with the witness of four archbishops, twenty bishops, and "innumerable multitudes of dukes and nobles", [5] suggesting it was before the ceremonies were completed. In 1025 he sent the crown to Poland and blessed the coronation of the Polish king Bolesław I the Brave. [6]

On 6 April 1027, John held a Lateran synod in which he declared for the patriarch of Aquileia against the patriarch of Grado, giving its bishop, Poppo of Aquileia, the patriarchal dignity and putting the bishop of Grado under his jurisdiction. In fact, the patriarch took precedence over all Italian bishops. In 1029, John revoked his decision and reaffirmed all the dignities of Grado. John also enacted a papal bull endowing Archbishop Byzantius of Bari with the right to consecrate his own twelve suffragans after the reattachment of the Bariot diocese to Rome in 1025. This was part of a conciliatory agreement with Eustathius, whereby the existence of the Byzantine Rite would be allowed in Italy in exchange for the establishment of Latin Rite churches in Constantinople. [7]

Pope John XIX took the Cluny Abbey under his protection, and renewed its privileges in spite of the protests of Goslin, bishop of Macon. He offered Odilo of Cluny the archbishopric of Lyons, but Odilo refused and the pope then chided Odilo for disobedience. John XIX died shortly after. [8] He was said to have been killed by a mob of angry peasants, but there is no evidence to support this. His nephew Benedict IX was selected to succeed him, although he was still young; according to some sources, he was only 12, but he was more likely to have been about 18 or 20.

Family tree

John XIX was closely related to five other popes who reigned in the 10th and 11th centuries, as well as some of the most powerful rulers of Italy at the time. [9]

Theophylact I of Tusculum Theodora
Hugh of Italy Marozia
Alda of Vienne Alberic II of Spoleto
David or Deodatus Pope John XI
r. 931–935
Pope John XII
r. 955–964
Gregory I of Tusculum Pope Benedict VII
r. 974–983
Pope Benedict VIII
r. 1012–1024
Alberic III of Tusculum Pope John XIX
r. 1024–1032
Peter Pope Benedict IX
r. 1032-1044

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  1. "John XIX", The Holy See
  2. 1 2 Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Pope John XIX (XX)." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 8 November 2017
  3. Previté-Orton, p. 275.
  4. Brusher SJ, Joseph S., "John XIX – The Layman Pontiff", Popes Through the Ages, (1980) San Rafael, California: Neff-Kane
  5. Trow, M. J. (2005), Cnut – Emperor of the North, Stroud: Sutton, ISBN   0-7509-3387-9, p. 193
  6. Halecki, Oscar and W. F. Reddaway, J. H. Penson, The Cambridge History of Poland, (Cambridge University Press), 67.
  7. Runciman, p. 123.
  8. Smith, Lucy Margaret. The Early History of the Monastery of Cluny. Oxford University Press, 1920
  9. Mann, Horace K. (1902). The lives of the popes in the early middle ages. London, K. Paul, Trench, Trübner, & co. p. 66.


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope John XIX (XX)". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Benedict VIII
Succeeded by
Benedict IX