34. Rise Through the Church Hierarchy With the Help of Another Pope Who Died While Getting It On
Leo VIII was born in Rome into a powerful aristocratic family, which helped give him a leg up as he rose through the Catholic Church’s hierarchy. He was a trusted assistant to Pope John XII, an even more depraved Holy Father who also ended up dying while loving it up – popes dying during sex used to be a thing, especially in the tenth century – who appointed him school superintended for Roman scribes.
In 963, John XII sent the future Pope Leo VIII as an ambassador to the newly crowned Holy Roman Emperor Otto I. However, relations between pope and emperor soured, and Otto I invaded Rome, forcing Pope John XII to flee. The emperor convened a synod, which deposed the absconded pope, and replaced him as Holy Father with the emperor’s choice, Leo VIII. Once the emperor left Rome, however, the deposed John XII returned. He organized a rebellion that forced his replacement, Leo VIII, to flee and seek shelter with Emperor Otto I, convened another synod that excommunicated Leo and voided his papacy, and resumed office as Holy Father.