Pope John XXI

Last updated

John XXI
Bishop of Rome
Pope John XXI.jpg
Papacy began8 September 1276
Papacy ended20 May 1277
Predecessor Adrian V
Successor Nicholas III
OrdinationMay 1275
Created cardinal3 June 1273
by Gregory X
Personal details
Birth namePedro Julião, Peter Juliani
Bornc. 1215
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Died(1277-05-20)20 May 1277
Viterbo, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Previous post
Coat of arms C o a Giovanni XXI.svg
Other popes named John

Pope John XXI (Latin : Ioannes XXI; c.1215 – 20 May 1277), born Peter Juliani (Latin : Petrus Iulianus; Portuguese : Pedro Julião), was Pope from 8 September 1276 to his death in 1277. Apart from Damasus I (from Roman Lusitania), he has been the only Portuguese pope. [1] He is sometimes identified with the logician and herbalist Peter of Spain (Latin : Petrus Hispanus; Portuguese : Pedro Hispano), which would make him the only pope to have been a physician. [1]

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

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 Damasus I pope

Pope Damasus I was Bishop of Rome, from October 366 to his death in 384. He presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of Sacred Scripture. He spoke out against major heresies in the church and encouraged production of the Vulgate Bible with his support for St. Jerome. He helped reconcile the relations between the Church of Rome and the Church of Antioch, and encouraged the veneration of martyrs.


"Pope John XXI" was actually the 20th pope named John, but decided to skip the number XX. [lower-alpha 1]

The numbering of Popes John does not occur in strict numerical order. Twenty-one popes have used the name "Pope John", but the latest was Pope John XXIII, not John XXI. These discrepancies in regnal numbers are due in part to a now discounted belief in another Pope John between John XIV and John XV, and the antipapacy of John XVI.


Early life

Pedro Julião was born in Lisbon between 1210 and 1220. He started his studies at the episcopal school of Lisbon Cathedral and later joined the University of Paris, although some historians claim that he was educated at Montpellier. Wherever he studied, he concentrated on medicine, theology, logic, physics, metaphysics, and Aristotle's dialectic. He is traditionally and usually identified with the medical author Peter of Spain, an important figure in the development of logic and pharmacology. Peter of Spain taught at the University of Siena in the 1240s and his Summulae Logicales was used as a university textbook on Aristotelian logic for the next three centuries. At the court in Lisbon, he was the councilor and spokesman for King Afonso III in church matters. Later,[ when? ] he became prior of Guimarães.

Lisbon Capital city in Lisbon metropolitan area, Portugal

Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 505,526 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administrative limits with a population of around 2.8 million people, being the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union. About 3 million people live in the Lisbon metropolitan area, including the Portuguese Riviera. It is mainland Europe's westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus. The westernmost portions of its metro area form the westernmost point of Continental Europe, which is known as Cabo da Roca, located in the Sintra Mountains.

Lisbon Cathedral Roman Catholic Cathedral located in Lisbon, Portugal

The Lisbon Cathedral, often called simply the , is a Roman Catholic church located in Lisbon, Portugal. The oldest church in the city is the seat of the Archdiocese of Lisbon. Built in 1147, the cathedral has survived many earthquakes and has been been modified, renovated and restored several times. It is nowadays a mix of different architectural styles. It has been classified as a National Monument since 1910.

University of Paris former university in Paris, France from 1896 to 1968

The University of Paris, metonymically known as the Sorbonne, was a university in Paris, France, active 1150–1793, and 1806–1970.

He was Archdeacon of Vermoim (Vermuy) in the Archdiocese of Braga. [2] He tried to become bishop of Lisbon but was defeated. Instead, he became the Master of the school of Lisbon. Peter became the physician of Pope Gregory X (127176) early in his reign. In March 1273[ citation needed ] he was elected Archbishop of Braga, but did not assume that post; instead, on 3 June 1273, Pope Gregory X created him Cardinal Bishop of Tusculum (Frascati). [3]

Patriarch of Lisbon prelate that governs the jurisdiction of Lisbon, since its erection as a patriarchate in 1716

The Patriarch of Lisbon, also called the Cardinal-Patriarch of Lisbon once he has been made cardinal, is the ordinary bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lisbon. He is one of the few patriarchs in the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, along with the Patriarchs of Venice, the East Indies, and Jerusalem.

Pope Gregory X Pope from 1271 to 1276

Pope Gregory X, born Teobaldo Visconti, was Pope from 1 September 1271 to his death in 1276 and was a member of the Secular Franciscan Order. He was elected at the conclusion of a papal election that ran from 1268 to 1271, the longest papal election in the history of the Catholic Church.


After the death of Pope Adrian V on 18 August 1276, Peter was elected Pope on 8 September. [1] He was crowned a week later on 20 September. One of John XXI's few acts during his brief reign was the reversal of a decree recently passed at the Second Council of Lyon (1274); the decree had not only confined cardinals in solitude until they elected a successor Pope, but also progressively restricted their supplies of food and wine if their deliberations took too long. Though much of John XXI's brief papacy was dominated by the powerful Cardinal Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, who succeeded him as Pope Nicholas III, John attempted to launch a crusade for the Holy Land, pushed for a union with the Eastern church, and did what he could to maintain peace between the Christian nations. He also launched a mission to convert the Tatars, but he died before it could start. [4] To secure the necessary quiet for his medical studies, he had an apartment added to the papal palace at Viterbo, to which he could retire when he wished to work undisturbed. On 14 May 1277, while the pope was alone in this apartment, it collapsed; John was buried under the ruins and died on 20 May in consequence of the serious injuries he had received. He was buried in the Duomo di Viterbo, where his tomb can still be seen.

Pope Adrian V pope

Pope Adrian V, born Ottobuono de' Fieschi, was Pope from 11 July 1276 to his death on 18 August 1276.

Second Council of Lyon fourteenth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church

The Second Council of Lyon was the fourteenth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, convoked on 31 March 1272 and convened in Lyon, Kingdom of Arles, in 1274. Pope Gregory X presided over the council, called to act on a pledge by Byzantine emperor Michael VIII to reunite the Eastern church with the West. The council was attended by about 300 bishops, 60 abbots and more than a thousand prelates or their procurators, among whom were the representatives of the universities. Due to the great number of attendees, those who had come to Lyon without being specifically summoned were given "leave to depart with the blessing of God" and of the Pope. Among others who attended the council were James I of Aragon, the ambassador of the Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos with members of the Greek clergy and the ambassadors of Abaqa Khan of the Ilkhanate. Thomas Aquinas had been summoned to the council, but died en route at Fossanova Abbey. Bonaventure was present at the first four sessions, but died at Lyon on 15 July 1274. As at the First Council of Lyon, Thomas Cantilupe was an English attender and a papal chaplain.

Pope Nicholas III Pope from 1277 to 1280

Pope Nicholas III, born Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, was Pope from 25 November 1277 to his death in 1280.


After his death, it was rumored that John XXI had actually been a necromancer, a suspicion frequently directed towards the few scholars among medieval popes (see, e.g., Sylvester II). It was also said that his death had been an act of God, stopping him from completing a heretical treatise. [5] Since the works of "Peter of Spain" continued to be studied and appreciated, however, Dante Alighieri placed "Pietro Spano" in his Paradiso's Sphere of the Sun with the spirits of other great religious scholars.

Pope Sylvester II pope

Pope Sylvester II or Silvester II was Pope from 2 April 999 to his death in 1003. Originally known as Gerbert of Aurillac, he was a prolific scholar and teacher. He endorsed and promoted study of Arab and Greco-Roman arithmetic, mathematics, and astronomy, reintroducing to Europe the abacus and armillary sphere, which had been lost to Latin Europe since the end of the Greco-Roman era. He is said to be the first to introduce in Europe the decimal numeral system using Hindu-Arabic numerals. He was the first French Pope.

Act of God usually-natural disaster for which no person is at fault

In legal usage throughout the English-speaking world, an act of God is a natural hazard outside human control, such as an earthquake or tsunami, for which no person can be held responsible. An act of God may amount to an exception to liability in contracts ; or it may be an "insured peril" in an insurance policy.

Heresy belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs

Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. A heretic is a proponent of such claims or beliefs. Heresy is distinct from both apostasy, which is the explicit renunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is an impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.

See also


  1. Also, Pope John XVI was an anti-pope who technically should not count in the numbering.

Related Research Articles

Pope Benedict XI 194th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Benedict XI, born Nicola Boccasini, was Pope from 22 October 1303 to his death on 7 July, 1304. He was also a member of the Order of Preachers.

Pope Innocent V pope

Pope Innocent V, born Pierre de Tarentaise, was pope from 21 January to 22 June 1276. He was a member of the Order of Preachers and was a close collaborator of Pope Gregory X during his pontificate. He was beatified in 1898 by Pope Leo XIII.

Pope Nicholas IV 191st Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Nicholas IV, born Girolamo Masci, Pope from 22 February 1288 to his death in 1292. He was the first Franciscan to be elected pope.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Florence archdiocese

The Archdiocese of Florence is a metropolitan see of the Catholic Church in Italy. It was traditionally founded in the 1st century, according to the 14th century chronicler Giovanni Villani. The diocese was directly subordinate to the Holy See (Papacy) until 1420.

Peter of Spain Spanish philosopher

Peter of Spain was the author of the Tractatus, later known as the Summulae Logicales, an important medieval university textbook on Aristotelian logic. As the Latin Hispania was considered to include the entire Iberian peninsula, he is traditionally and usually identified with the Portuguese scholar and ecclesiastic Peter Juliani, who was elected Pope John XXI in 1276. The identification is sometimes disputed, usually by Spanish authors, who claim the author of the Tractatus was a Castilian Blackfriar. He is also sometimes identified as Petrus Ferrandi Hispanus.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela archdiocese

The Archdiocese of Messina was founded as the Diocese of Messina but was raised to the level of an archdiocese on 30 September 1986 with the merging with the former Diocese of Lipari and the Territorial Prelature of Santa Lucia del Mela (1206), and as suffragans the Diocese of Patti and Diocese of Nicosia.

Giovanni Antonio Sangiorgio was an Italian canon lawyer and Cardinal. Agostino Oldoino calls him the leading jurisconsult of his age. Kenneth Pennington has called him one of the ‘last two great commentators on feudal law’.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Savona-Noli diocese of the Catholic Church

The Italian Catholic Diocese of Savona-Noli in northern Italy, was historically the Diocese of Savona, from the tenth century. In 1820 the Diocese of Noli was united to the Diocese of Savona. It is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Genoa.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Tivoli diocese of the Catholic Church

The Diocese of Tivoli is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory in Latium, Italy, which has existed since the 2nd century. In 2002 territory was added to it from the Territorial Abbey of Subiaco. The diocese is immediately subject to the Holy See.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Fano-Fossombrone-Cagli-Pergola

The Diocese of Fano-Fossombrone-Cagli-Pergola is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory in Italy, created in 1986, when the historical Diocese of Fano was united to the Diocese of Cagli e Pergola and the Diocese of Fossombrone. It is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Pesaro.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Senigallia diocese of the Catholic Church

The Diocese of Senigallia is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory in the Marche, Italy. It has existed since the sixth century. It is a suffragan of the archdiocese of Ancona-Osimo.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Ascoli Piceno

The Italian Catholic Diocese of Ascoli Piceno in the Marche, has existed since the fourth century. Historically immediately dependent on the Holy See, it is now a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Fermo. There is, in 2015, one priest for every 1,074 Catholics.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Ischia diocese of the Catholic Church

The Diocese of Ischia is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory in Campania, southern Italy. It is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Naples. The diocese comprises the entire island of Ischia, which contains seven communes divided into two circumscriptions. In 1743, the population was about 4,000. The city of Ischia constituted one single parish, with two religious houses of men and one of women. In 2018, the population of the town of Ischia was 20,118.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brindisi-Ostuni archdiocese

The Italian Catholic Archdiocese of Brindisi-Ostium in Apulia, has carried its present name since 1986. It is a suffragan of the archdiocese of Lecce.

Bertrand de Saint-Martin was a French cardinal.

Napoleone Orsini was a Roman Cardinal. His ecclesiastical career lasted 57 years, 54 of them as a cardinal, and included six conclaves.

Gervasius Giançolet de Glincamp was born in the diocese of Mans, son of Gervais, great-grandson of Eudes, chevalier and seigneur de Groestel. He was a Roman Catholic cardinal and diplomat. He had a brother, Jean de Glincamp, who became Abbot of S. Remi in Reims. Another relative, a first-cousin, Robert de Glincamp, was bishop of Mans (1298-1309).

Simone Paltanieri

Simone Paltanieri, son of Pesce Paltanieri, member of a distinguished family, was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Nebbio Wikimedia list article

The Diocese of Nebbio was a Roman Catholic diocese located in the town of Saint-Florent in Corsica. The Cathedral is on a low hill one mile from the port of Saint-Florent. In the Medieval period the Bishop of Nebbio was also the temporal lord of nearly all the lands in his diocese. In 1667, Nebbio was completely abandoned and the bishop lived in Saint-Florent, a town of about 200 inhabitants, under the dominion of the Republic of Genoa. The diocese had some 22 places. The Cathedral Chapter had two dignities, the Archdeacon and the Provost, and three Canons. In 1770 the diocese was under the dominion of the King of France, and Saint-Fleur had about 600 inhabitants. The Chapter of the Cathedral still existed, with two dignities and six Canons.


  1. 1 2 3 Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes, (HarperCollins, 1997), 222.
  2. Conradus Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi Tomus I, editio altera (Monasterii 1913), p. 144.
  3. Conradus Eubel, Hierarchia catholica medii aevi Tomus I, editio altera (Monasterii 1913), p. 9.
  4. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope John XXI (XX)"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  5. Odorico Raynaldi, sub anno 1227, no. 19.


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Adrian V
Succeeded by
Nicholas III