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Pope John XVII: Map


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John XVII (died December, 1003), born John Sicco, and the son of another John Sicco, was born in the region of Romemarker then referred to as Biveretica. He succeeded Pope Silvester II (999–1003) as Pope on May 16, 1003, but died less than six months later.

John XVII was nominated to the papacy by John Crescentius, a Roman noble who held power in the city in opposition to Emperor Otto III (983–1002). John XVII's successor, Pope John XVIII (1004–09), was also selected by Crescentius.

John died on November 6, 1003, and was buried in the Lateran Basilicamarker between the two doors of the principal façade. According to John the Deacon, his epitaph began by stating that “here is the tomb of the supreme John, who is said to be Pope, for so he was called.”


Before entering the priesthood, Sicco had been married and had three sons who also entered Holy Orders. They were:

Confusion over Ordinals

The previous legitimate Pope John is generally considered to be John XV (985–996). John XVI (997–998) was an antipope, according to conventional wisdom, and thus his regnal number XVI should have been reused. But this did not occur, and the sequencing has never been corrected.


  • Mann, Horace K., The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages, Volume 5: The Popes In The Days of Feudal Anarchy, from Formosus to Damasus II, Part 2 (London, 1910)


  1. Mann, pg 121
  2. Mann, pg 122
  3. Mann, pg 124

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