Son of Gregory, count of Tusculum, and Maria; brother of PopeBenedict VIII; relative of PopeBenedict VI.
Consul, senator and civil leader.
Chosen pope even though he was a layman.
John hoped to avoid the history of anti-popes and revolts by the Roman citizens by immediately spending heavily on public projects.
A group of ambassadors from Byzantine emperor Basil II soon came to Rome.
Armed with expense gifts for use as bribes, they wanted John to recognize the patriarchs of Byzantium as head of the Oriental Churches.
John was interested, and entered into secret negotiations, but word leaked out.
The opinion of the laity and religious reformers was strongly against this, and John sent the delegation home.
Crowned Conrad the Salian as Holy Roman Emperor on 26 March1027.
Presided at a synod which settled a long-standing dispute between the patriarchs of Aquileia and Grado which left the former with great power; two years later he reversed his decision.
Supported the abbey of Cluny, and the reforms begun there.
Raised to the feast of SaintMartial of Limoges to the level of feasts of the Apostles based on writings that indicated he travelled with them.
Apparently the first pope to grant an indulgence in return for alms.