John VIII, Antipope

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Pontificate: January 844. Virtually nothing is known of the deacon John, except that he was acclaimed pope upon the death of Pope Gregory IV (827844). Gregory died in January, and the people of Rome rioted, seized the Lateran and proclaimed John the new pope. The city's aristocracy put down the uprising and forced John to leave the Lateran; they then elected the archpriest Sergius (844847) as pope. The emperor Lothair (840855) subsequently recognized the election through his son Louis, who served as an envoy in Rome. Nothing certain is known of John's fate, though some sources report that he was confined to a monastery.

Bibliography: l. duchesne, ed. Liber Pontificalis (Paris 188692; repr. 195557) 2.8687. p. jaffÉ, Regesta pontificum Romanorum (Leipzig 188588; repr. Graz 1956) 1.327. f. x. seppelt, Geschichte der Päpste von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts (Munich 195459) 2.221. j. n. d. kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 103. r. aubert, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1997) 26:1160.

[p. m. savage]

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John VIII, Antipope

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