John X. (Pope)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John X. (* 860 in Tossignano near Imola ; † 929 in Rome ) was Pope from 914 to 928.

Before his pontificate

Johannes came from the Cenci family from Tossignano near Imola . Before his election he was Bishop of Bologna and from 905 Archbishop of Ravenna . The decisive factor for his choice was probably his closeness to the Italian King Berengar I and to the dominant circle of power around the consul and senator Theophylact I of Tusculum, which was decisive in Rome at that time . In the opinion of his contemporary Liutprand of Cremona , he was only elected Pope because he had a "close relationship" with Theophylact's wife Theodora , the mother of Marozia , who allegedly even had a daughter by him. Later, Johannes arranged for Marozias to marry Alberic I , the son of Alberic of Tusculum .


John X tried to restore the Pope's power in Italy. He formed an alliance with other Italian states against the Saracens and won a victory against them in the Battle of Garigliano in 915 . In 915 he crowned Berengar I as emperor . The reasons for this coronation can hardly be clearly stated. It seems likely that Johannes had good experience in dealing with Berengar since his time in Ravenna and was quite open to the idea of ​​renewing the old imperial tradition.

The religious relations between Rome and Byzantium were not the best, despite the political cooperation against the Saracens. By the decision of Pope Sergius III. , in the inner-Byzantine tetragamy dispute between Patriarch Nikolaos Mystikos and Emperor Leo VI. About the permission of the fourth marriage for the emperor to side, it came after Leo VI. Death 912 to worsen relationships. The Byzantine patriarch demanded satisfaction from the papal side because as a result of the dispute he had had to go into exile for a certain period of time. In 920 a strong Byzantine delegation traveled to Rome to bring the letters of both the patriarch and the new emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetus to the pope . However, she never came to Rome because of the revolt of Prince Landulf von Capua that broke out in southern Italy. Because of this, the Patriarch made another attempt to write to the Pope in 922, and this time it was successful. John X saw in this the possibility of a more active church policy in the Balkans, met the wishes of the Patriarch and sent a delegation to Constantinople, which was led by the papal legates Theophylact and Carus.

At the same time, the legates should use their trip to influence the Bulgarian prince Simeon I. The legates were instructed to travel from Constantinople to Simeon's camp, to bring him a papal letter and to urge peace. The patriarch, however, thwarted these plans by writing to Simeon and telling him of the Pope's message of peace, while he forbade the papal legates to travel to Bulgaria on the pretext that their security was compromised. The fact that a peace was made between Byzantium and Bulgarians in 924 and that Simeon was granted tsarist dignity strengthened his ties to the Greek Orthodox Church. However, the Pope did not abandon his efforts to influence the Bulgarians. He soon sent another embassy to Simeon to mediate peace between the Bulgarians and the Croats.

Excerpt from the Pope's letter from 925 to his “dear son Tomislav, King of the Croats” (“Joannes episcopus seruus seruorum dei dilecto filio Tamisclao regi Croatorum”).

In 925 John X sent a letter to the Croatian Knes Tomislav , in which he referred to him as the "King of the Croats" ("Tamisclao regi Croatorum"). It can be assumed that Tomislav had acquired the title rex himself and that the Pope only recognized existing conditions. At the same time, with this message, John X suggested that the Croatian kingdom owes its foundation to the papacy. One can also assume that it was of certain importance for Tomislav to see his new dignity strengthened by Rome.

John X, however, refused to tolerate the teachings of Methodius and warned Bishop John of Split to abolish the use of the Slavic language in worship. At the council convened in Split by the Papal Legates in 925 , the questions of church discipline and the ecclesiastical organization of Croatia were discussed in detail. At this council a conflict arose between the advocate of the popular language-respecting current in the Croatian Church, Bishop Gregory of Nin , and Archbishop John of Split, loyal to the Pope. In 926 this conflict ended with the exile of Gregory in his episcopal city Nin and the recognition of the metropolitan rights of John of Split. Attempts to latate the liturgical language, however, were abandoned.


Pope John X was deposed in 928, although the reasons are not entirely clear. On the one hand, the Pope was accused of his alliance with King Hugo of Italy , through which the Roman nobility and Marozia , who at that time played a dominant role in the city hierarchy, felt threatened. On the other hand, the promotion of his brother Peter, who had the dignity of a margrave, could have been the doom of the Pope. In 927 Peter was expelled from Rome, but returned a short time later. Since the Magyars had invaded Italy in the same year , the Pope's brother was accused of having called them into the country. Thereupon Peter was slain by the followers of Widos and Marozias in the Lateran Palace in front of John X. Shortly after these events, John X was thrown into prison in Castel Sant'Angelo in 928 , although the sources vaguely speak of a dismissal by the judgment of the "entire Roman people" ( omni populo Romani ). This could have been an indication of a deposition process, the details of which are not known. John X was murdered in prison in 929 - probably at Marozia's instigation. He is known as the first Pope in the Lateran Basilica of St. John Lateran buried


In the opinion of many experts, the pontificate of John X rises above many others of his time, although he himself left very few traces in Rome. He was one of the supporters of the singing school and numerous monasteries in the Eternal City. Restoration of the Lateran continued under his reign .


Web links

Commons : Johannes X.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church ( Memento of the original from October 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. On the papal pornocracy with special consideration of Marozias ( memento of October 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) by Peter de Rosa in the Internet Archive at, as of October 7, 2007, as of November 28, 2010
  3. ^ Sible Lambertus de Blaauw: Cultus et decor, Liturgie en architectuur en middleeuws Rome, Basilica Salvatoris, Sanctae Mariae, Sancti Petri, Delft, 1987, p. 101
predecessor Office successor
Lando Pope
Leo VI
John VIII Archbishop of Ravenna