The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Sylvester II (999-1003)
Creation of 1000 (I)


(1) 1. FASANO (?-June or July 1009)

Birth. (No date found), Rome. Son of Ursus (or Leo), who became a priest, and Stefania. He is also listed as Phasianus and as Giovanni Fasanus. It is said that his name was Giovanni and that Fasano was an appellative that means "Cock".

Education. (No information found).

Cardinalate. Presbyter cardinalis of S. Pietro (in Vincoli?) ca. 1100; he was called cardinalis sancti Petri.

Papacy. Elected pope on December 25, 1003 (1); his election was owed to the influence of Giovanni III Crescenzio, senatus romani patricius, with whose family Fasano may have been related. Took the name John XVIII (or XIX). Consecrated, December 25, 1003. Around 1004, he restored the see of Merseburg, which Pope Benedict VII had suppressed and Pope Gregory V had sought to revive. In mid-1004, following the precedent established by Pope John XV, he solemnly canonized five Polish Camaldolese hermits, Benedykt, Janusz, Izaak, Mateusz, and Krystian, martyred in Gniezno in 1003 (2). He sent the pallium to Archbishops Meingandus of Trier and Elphege of Canterbury. In 1007 he approved the foundation of the see of Bamberg, Bavaria, making it suffragan of Mainz, and placing it under papal protection. When he learned, in late 1007, that the bishops of Sens and Orléans had threatened the privileges of the abbey of Fleury, ordering its abbot to burn the bulls granting it papal exemptions, he rapidly summoned them to Rome on pain of excommunication, and even threatened King Robert II of France that he would place his entire kingdom under an interdict if the bishops failed to appear. He created two cardinals in two promotions.

Death. June or July 1009, Rome (3). Buried in the Lateran basilica or in the basilica of S. Paolo fuori le mura, both in Rome (4).

Bibliography. Del Re, Niccolò. "Giovanni XVIII, papa." Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente. Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995, p. 541; "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIè siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926. Paris : Maison de la Bonne Presse, 1926, p. 161, no. 2; Kelly, John Norman Davidson. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 138-139; Montini, Renzo Uberto. Le tombe dei papi. Roma : Angelo Belardetti, 1957. Note: At head of title: Instituto di studi romani, p. 170-171; Reardon, Wendy J. The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2004, p. 80; Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab conditio Ecclesia. Ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Graz : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, 1956. 2 v. Reprint. Originally published : Lipsiae : Veit et comp., 1885-1888. Original t.p. included : Regesta pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia : ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Editionem secundam correctam et auctam edidit Philippus Jaffè ; auspiciis Gulielmi Wattenbach; curaverunt S. Loewenfeld, F. Kaltenbrunner, P. Ewald, I, 501-503; and II, 708; Sennis, Antonio. "Giovanni XVIII". Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, II, 126-128; Ziezulewicz, W. A monastic forgery in an age of reform; a Bull of Pope John XVIII for Saint-Florent-de-Samur (April 1004), Archivum Historiae Pontificae, XXIII (1985), 7-42.

(1) This is according to Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 2009 (Città del Vaticano : Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2009) p. 13*; Kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes, p. 138; Reardon, The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs, p. 80; and Sennis, "Giovanni XVIII", Enciclopedia dei papi, II, 126. Del Re, Mondo vaticano. Passato e presente, p. 541, says that he was elected in January 1004. "Essai de liste générale des cardinaux. Les cardinaux du XIè siècle". Annuaire Pontifical Catholique 1926, p. 161, no. 2, indicates that he was elected on December 6, 1003, and consecrated the following December 25. Montini, Le tombe dei papi, p. 170, says that he was elected in 1004. His first, second and fourth biographies in English, linked above, say that he was elected in 1003. His third biography in English, linked above, says that he was elected in 1004. His first biography in German, linked above, says that he was elected in December 1003 or January 1004. His second biography in German, also linked above, says that he was elected in December 1003.
(2) They are also commemorated in the Dominican Martyrology on November 12.
(3) He was possibly forced to retire from the papacy in May 1009 and went to live as a monk in the monastery of S. Paolo fuori le mura. The circumstances are uncertain. The possibility that his abdication was forced on him by Giovanni II Crescentius is quite possible. Other sources either ignore his possibly forced abdication or deny it.
(4) This is according to Reardon, The deaths of the popes : comprehensive accounts, including funerals, burial places and epitaphs, p. 80, which adds that no trace of his tomb exists in either basilica but that the inscription has been preserved in the museum of the abbey of S. Paolo fuori le mura: DOMS IOHS XVIII PAPA.

Webgraphy. Biography, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, Encyclopaedia Britannica; his image and biography, in English; biography, in English; biography, in German; his engraving, Fondazione Marco Besso, Rome; his engraving, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; five engravings, Bildarchiv Austria. Die Bildplattform der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek; and his effigy on a medal, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic.

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