(16 May–6 Nov. 1003)
*Silvester II's successor was John Sicco, son of a father also named John and born in the Biberetica district of the city near Trajan's column. Nothing is known of his earlier career or of the circumstances of his election except that he must have been the nominee of John II Crescentius (d. 1012), son of the Crescentius executed in 998 for his part in the revolt against Gregory V, who since the death of Emperor Otto III (996–1002) without heir held effective power—with the rank of patrician of the Romans (1003–12)—over Rome, the papal state, and the papacy itself. John was probably related to the family of the Crescentii, and he seems to have been the puppet of the patrician. A chronicler reports that he was keen (as he well might have been) to establish relations with the new German king, Henry II (1002–24), but was prevented from taking any steps by John Crescentius. His only recorded act of significance is his authorization of the Polish missionary Benedict, a disciple of Bruno of Querfurt, and his brethren to engage in evangelistic work among the Slavs. It is not known how he died or how old he was. Three of his kinsmen—a bishop, a deacon, and a high dignitary of the Lateran chancery (secundicerius)—are commemorated in an epitaph dated 1040; they evidently took pride in being related to a pope, even one so short-lived and obscure.
LP ii. 265JW i. 501ZPR 386–8R. Poupardin, ‘Note sur la chronologie du pontificat de Jean XVII’, MelArchHist21 (1901), 387–90DBI lv. 595–6 (A. Sennis)DTC viii. 629 (É. Amann)Levillain ii. 843–4 (K.-J. Herrmann)