Pope John XVIII

For the Coptic Pope, see Pope John XVIII of Alexandria.
Papacy began January 1004
Papacy ended July 1009
Predecessor John XVII
Successor Sergius IV
Personal details
Birth name Johannes Fasanius
Born Rapagnano, Papal States
Died July 1009
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Other popes named John

Pope John XVIII (Latin: Ioannes XVIII; died June or July 1009) was Pope and ruler of the Papal states from January 1004 (25 December 1003 NS) to his abdication in June 1009. He was born Fasanius at Rapagnano, near Ascoli Piceno, the son of a Roman priest, either named Leo according to the Catholic Encyclopedia,[1] or named Ursus according to Horace K Mann.[2]

During his whole pontificate he was allegedly subordinate to the head of the Crescentii clan who controlled Rome, the patricius (an aristocratic military leader) John Crescentius III.[3]

This period was disrupted by continuing conflicts between the Ottonian Emperor Henry II and Arduin of Ivrea, who had styled himself King of Italy in 1002 after the death of Emperor Otto III. Rome was wracked with bouts of plague, and Saracens operated freely out of the Emirate of Sicily ravaging the Tyrrhenian coasts.[4]

As Pope, John XVIII occupied his time mainly with details of ecclesiastical administration. He authorized a new Diocese of Bamberg to serve as a base for missionary activity among the Slavs, a concern of Henry II's. He also adjudicated a squabble between the abbot of Fleury and the bishops of Sens and Orléans.[5] John was successful in creating, at least temporarily, a rapprochement between the Eastern and Western churches. His name could be found on Eastern diptychs and he was prayed for in masses in Constantinople.[6]

Ultimately he abdicated and, according to one catalogue of Popes, retired to a monastery, where he died shortly afterwards.[4] His successor was Pope Sergius IV.

Confusion over ordinals

Pope John XVIII was only the 17th pope called John, because John XVI (997–998) was an antipope according to official reckoning. His status as an antipope was not recognized at the time, however, so the true 16th Pope John called himself John XVII. The true 17th pope called John took the regnal number XVIII. The true sequence of numbering has never been corrected.


  1. Herbermann 1913.
  2. Mann 1906, p. 126.
  3. Mann 1906, p. 127.
  4. 1 2 Mann 1906, p. 140.
  5. Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI, (HarperCollins Publishers, 2000) ISBN 978-0060878078. P. 168.
  6. Mann 1906, pp. 129–130.


Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Sergius IV
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