John XVI

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John XVI (* In Rossano ;? † 1013 () in Rome ), with worldly name John Philagathos ( medium Greek Ἰωάννης Φιλάγαθος ) was from 997 to 998 anti-pope to Pope Gregory V . Johannes was the teacher of Emperor Otto III. and Gregor V.

John came from the time the Eastern Roman Empire belonging Rossano . He was Greek and was brought to the Saxon court by Theophanu , the Greek wife of Otto II . According to foul gossip, the empress and her advisor are said to have had an adulterous relationship. Between 980 and 982 and in the years 991 and 992 he served as Imperial Chancellor in Italy. He was also abbot of Nonantola from 982 and archbishop of Piacenza from 988 .

He was by Otto III. sent to Byzantium together with the Würzburg bishop Bernward to find a bride for him. On his return, John - who evidently misjudged himself in his assessment of the situation - was seduced by Crescentius I Nomentanus , elected bishop by the Roman clergy and confirmed by the people. This prompted Otto to campaign in Rome in 998. Before his arrival, Pope John fled to the Campagna . He was discovered in a tower, horribly disfigured and brought to Rome. The emperor left the former teacher of Pope Gregory V without eyes, ears, nose and tongue, but wrapped in papal robes, sitting upside down on a donkey with a hollowed out cow's udder as a cap in a shameful procession through Rome and on the orders of Pope Gregory before a synod to lead. There Antipope John was formally deposed. After the deposition, the unfortunate man was led through the cheering crowd on the donkey again. The mutilated man was then deported to a monastery, where he presumably died after 15 years.

Neither the emperor nor the pope were to blame for the mutilations of their papal opponent. But the spectacle ordered by the Pope in Rome afterwards was a shame for both of them. Emperor Otto had surrounded himself with saints throughout his life. Before the spectacle in Rome, the almost ninety-year-old hermit Nilus von Rossano , who a year earlier had warned the antipope against being too ambitious, pleaded with the emperor and the pope for mercy for the fallen. When both refused to do so, the indignant saint loudly threatened God's judgment .

After Johannes' removal, Gregory V, a cousin of Otto III, was again the undisputed Pontifex Maximus . On the other hand, the Crescentians hadn't given up yet.


Web links

Commons : John XVI.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Sigolfo Bishop of Piacenza