Pope, who began his inglorious reign in September, 985, was in reality only the puppet of Crescentius, the true governor of Rome, for he presided and ruled at the Castle del Angelo as patricius. At one time John fled to Tuscany, but at the intervention of Otho III he was afterwards permitted to return and to live in the Lateran, but he remained destitute of all authority. By way of compensation for his lack of power, he enriched himself and his relatives with the revenues of the Church. Concerning the dispute about the bishopric of Rheims, see Sylvester II. He died in April, 996.
Some believe that another John, son of the Roman Rupertus, was the fifteenth pontiff under the name of John, and that the present John was the sixteenth pope of that name, holding that he was pope four months after the murder of Boniface VIII; but this is a very dubious statement, and is wholly denied by modern critics. Comp. Willman's Jahrbiicher des deutschen Reichs unter Otto III, p. 208, 212; Aschbach, Kirchen-Lex. 3, 520; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 6, 757.