Pope John XV

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John XV and Pope John XV can also refer to Pope John XV of Alexandria.
Pope

John XV
Pope John XV Illustration.jpg
Papacy beganAugust 985
Papacy ended1 April 996
Predecessor John XIV
Successor Gregory V
Personal details
Birth nameJohn
Born Rome, Papal States
Died1 April 996
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Other popes named John

Pope John XV (Latin : Ioannes XV; (? in Rome – 1 April 996) was Pope from August 985 to his death in 996. He succeeded Pope John XIV (983–984). He was said to have been Pope after another Pope John who reigned four months after John XIV and was named "Papa Ioannes XIV Bis" or "Pope John XIVb". This supposed second John XIV never existed, rather he was confused with a certain cardinal deacon John, son of Robert, who was opposed to antipope Boniface VII and is now excluded from the papal lists.

Rome Capital of Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Pope Leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the bishop of Rome and leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

Pope John XIV pope

Pope John XIV was Pope from December 983 to his death in 984. He was the successor to Pope Benedict VII.

Contents

In 993, he was the first pope to proclaim a saint. At the request of the German ruler, he canonized Bishop Ulrich of Augsburg on 31 January 993. Before that time, saint cults had been local and spontaneous. [1]

Ulrich of Augsburg German bishop and saint

Saint Ulrich of Augsburg, sometimes spelled Uodalric or Odalrici, was Bishop of Augsburg in Germany. He was the first saint to be canonized not by a local authority but by the Pope.

Early life and elevation to papacy

John XV was the son of Leo, a Roman presbyter. At the time he mounted the papal chair, in August 985, John was cardinal-priest of St. Vitalis. [2]

In the New Testament, a presbyter is a leader of a local Christian congregation. The word derives from the Greek presbyteros, which means elder or senior. The Greek word episkopos literally means overseer; it refers exclusively to the office of bishop. Many understand presbyteros to refer to the bishop functioning as overseer. In modern Catholic and Orthodox usage, presbyter is distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest. In predominant Protestant usage, presbyter does not refer to a member of a distinctive priesthood called priests, but rather to a minister, pastor, or elder.

It has been said that the Pope's venality and nepotism made him very unpopular with the citizens of Rome. [3] However, Joseph Brusher finds this unproven, as John XV had little authority in Rome at that time. [2] Crescentius II, Patrician of Rome, significantly hampered the pope's influence, but the presence of the Empress Theophanu, regent for her son, Holy Roman Emperor Otto III in Rome from 989 to 991 restrained Crescentius' ambition. [3]

Patrician (post-Roman Europe) post-Roman European social class; a formally defined class of governing upper classes found in metropolitan areas (Venice, Florence, Genoa, Amalfi) and Free cities of Germany (Nuremberg, Ravensburg, Augsburg, Konstanz, Lindau, Bern, Basel, Zurich)

Patricianship, the quality of belonging to a patriciate, began in the ancient world, where cities such as Ancient Rome had a class of patrician families whose members were initially the only people allowed to exercise many political functions. In the rise of European towns in the 12th and 13th century, the patriciate, a limited group of families with a special constitutional position, in Henri Pirenne's view, was the motive force. In 19th century central Europe, the term had become synonymous with the upper Bourgeoisie and can't be compared with the medieval patriciate in Central Europe. In the German-speaking parts of Europe as well as in the maritime republics of Italy, the patricians were as a matter of fact the ruling body of the medieval town and particularly in Italy part of the nobility.

Theophanu Empress consort of the Holy Roman Empire

Theophanu, was an Empress consort of the Holy Roman Empire by marriage to Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, and regent of the Holy Roman Empire during the minority of her son from 983 until her death in 990. She was the niece of the Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimiskes.

Holy Roman Emperor Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire

The Holy Roman Emperor, officially the Emperor of the Romans, and also the German-Roman Emperor, was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was, almost without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.

He was a patron and protector of the reforming monks of Cluny. [4] Through his legate Leo, he mediated a dispute between King Ethelred the Unready, of England, and Richard, duke of Normandy. [2]

Cluny Commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Cluny is a commune in the eastern French department of Saône-et-Loire, in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. It is 20 km (12 mi) northwest of Mâcon.

Richard I, also known as Richard the Fearless, was the Count of Rouen or Jarl of Rouen from 942 to 996. Dudo of Saint-Quentin, whom Richard commissioned to write the "De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum", called him a Dux. However, this use of the word may have been in the context of Richard's renowned leadership in war, and not as a reference to a title of nobility. Richard either introduced feudalism into Normandy or he greatly expanded it. By the end of his reign, the most important Norman landholders held their lands in feudal tenure.

French dispute

During this papacy, a serious dispute arose over the deposition in 991 of Arnulf, Archbishop of Reims, by French churchmen. This affair is sometimes read as an early groundswell of the conflicts between Popes and the new kings of France that came to a head later in the Investiture Controversy.

Investiture Controversy 11th- and 12th-century dispute between secular rulers and the papacy

The Investiture Controversy or Investiture Contest was a conflict between church and state in medieval Europe over the ability to install high church officials through investiture. By undercutting imperial power, the controversy led to nearly 50 years of civil war in Germany. According to historian Norman Cantor, the Investiture Controversy was "the turning-point in medieval civilization", marking the end of the Early Middle Ages with the Germanic peoples' "final and decisive" acceptance of Christianity. More importantly, it set the stage for the religious and political system of the High Middle Ages.

Hugh Capet, king of France, made Arnulf archbishop of Reims in 988, even though Arnulf was the nephew of the King's bitter rival, Charles of Lorraine. Charles thereupon succeeded in capturing Reims and took the archbishop prisoner. Hugh, however, considered Arnulf a turncoat and demanded his deposition by John XV. The turn of events outran the messages, when Hugh Capet captured both Charles and Archbishop Arnulf and convoked a synod at Reims in June 991, which obediently deposed Arnulf and chose as his successor Abbot Gerbert of Aurillac, afterwards Pope Silvester II. [4]

At this synod, Arnulf, Bishop of Orléans accused John XV:

Are any bold enough to maintain that the priests of the Lord all over the world are to take their law from monsters of guilt like these—men branded with ignominy, illiterate men, and ignorant alike of things human and divine? If, holy fathers, we are bound to weigh in the balance the lives, the morals, and the attainments of the humblest candidate for the priestly office, how much more ought we to look to the fitness of him who aspires to be the Lord and Master of all priests! Yet how would it fare with us, if it should happen that the man the most deficient in all these virtues, unworthy of the lowest place in the priesthood, should be chosen to fill the highest place of all? What would you say of such a one, when you see him sitting upon the throne glittering in purple and gold? Must he not be the "Antichrist, sitting in the temple of God and showing himself as God"? [5]

Church reaction

The proceedings of the Synod of Reims were repudiated by Rome, although a second synod had ratified the decrees issued at Reims. John XV summoned the French bishops to hold an independent synod outside the French king's realm at Aachen to reconsider the case. When they refused, he called them to Rome, but they protested that the unsettled conditions en route and in Rome made that impossible. The Pope then sent a legate with instructions to call a council of French and German bishops at Mousson, where only the German bishops appeared, the French being stopped on the way by Hugh Capet and his son Robert. Through the exertions of the legate, the deposition of Arnulf was finally pronounced illegal. After Hugh Capet's death on 23 October 996, Arnulf was released from his imprisonment and soon restored to all his dignities. As for Gerbert, he set out for the imperial court at Magdeburg and became the preceptor to Emperor Otto III. [4]

At a Roman synod held in the Lateran on 31 January 993, John XV solemnly canonized Bishop Ulrich of Augsburg, an event which the Pope announced to the French and German bishops in a papal bull dated 3 February. This was the first time in history that a solemn canonization had been made by a Pope. [6]

Later life and death

In 996, Otto III undertook a journey to Italy to obtain an imperial coronation from the Pope, but John XV died of fever early in April 1 996, while Otto III lingered in Pavia until 12 April to celebrate Easter. The Emperor then elevated his own kinsman Bruno to the papal dignity under the name of Gregory V.

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References

  1. Luscombe, David and Riley-Smith, Jonathan. 2004. New Cambridge Medieval History: C.1024-c.1198, Volume 5. p. 12.
  2. 1 2 3 Brusher S. J., Joseph. "John XV - the Scholarly Pontiff", "Popes Through the Ages"
  3. 1 2 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "John XV.". Encyclopædia Britannica . 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 435.
  4. 1 2 3 Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Pope John XV (XVI)." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 27 September 2017
  5. Schaff, Philip; Schley Schaff, David (1885). History of the Christian Church. Charles Scribner & Sons. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
  6. Luscombe, David and Riley-Smith, Jonathan. 2004. New Cambridge Medieval History: C.1024-c.1198, Volume 4.

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

Further reading

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John XIV
Pope
985–996
Succeeded by
Gregory V