. John XXIII (* 25 November 1881 in Sotto il Monte , Province of Bergamo , Lombardy , † 3 June 1963 in the Vatican City ) – Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli real name – was born on 28 October 1958 as the successor of Pius XII. the 261st Pope of the Roman Catholic Church elected. He is also the “conciliar Pope” or because of his modesty and common touch popularly il papa buono (“the good pope”). He was born on 3 September 2000 by Pope John Paul II beatified. His Roman Catholic feast day is the 11th October, [1] the day when at the instigation in 1962, the Second Vatican Council opened. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America commemorates its on third June , of his death. [2]

He was succeeded by Cardinal Giambattista Montini (1897-1978), who had already significantly influenced the course of the Council by that date and the name of Pope Paul VI. gave.


Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was the son of Giovanni Battista Roncalli and his wife Marianna was born in a poor family on the edge of the Alps. He grew up with twelve other siblings in a large family farm. A special relationship, the young Angelo. Zaverio to his great-uncle, who was a landmark for his life of faith The talent of the boy was recognized by the parish priest Don Rebuzzini and promoted. With private instruction in Latin promoted the pastor his students. But Angelo’s father was against it because he does not give up its work force, and a priest was skeptical about his son. With great difficulty the father could be persuaded. 1892 Angelo was in the preparatory seminary in Bergamo added. Then he was able to attend the theological seminary. In 1901 he contributed a one-year period of military service. He then studied in Rome , where he on 18th December 1903 to deacon was ordained. A year later he graduated with a doctorate in theology at Dr.. from.
Priest and professor

On 10 August 1904 Roncalli was ordained a priest. During the ordination, he became the then Pope Pius X presented. Early on, he learned the later popes Achille Ratti and Eugenio Pacelli personally. From 1905 to 1914 Roncalli served as secretary of Bishop Count Radini-Tedeschi of Bergamo , whom he admired very life. With the Bishop Roncalli took many trips abroad, including 1906 from the Ottoman Empire, Palestine belongs. He remained his seminar in Bergamo as Professor remain committed and taught church history . With the death of his patron Roncalli lost his secretary office.

With the declaration of war in Italy on Austria-Hungary on 23 Roncalli was drafted in May 1915. He first served as a medic, and later became a military chaplain. After the war he worked as a student and youth pastor. By Pope Benedict XV. added 1921 to Rome, he was elected president of the Central Council of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Italy and the Monsignor charged. During this time he once traveled to Aachen, via Cologne , where he was in the Cathedral has a fair celebrated (at the jewelry Madonna). Therefore has Roncalliplatz the cathedral its name.

Vatican diplomat

On 3 March 1925 Roncalli became the Apostolic Visitor to Bulgaria appointed, where he paved the way for regional dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. For this task, it required the consecration of bishops, on the 19th he Received in March 1925. His motto was: Oboedientia et Pax (peace and obedience). In 1931 the survey was to Apostolic Delegate of Mesembria and after the resignation of Bulgaria was appointed Titular Bishop of Areopolis (now Jordan ).

1934, he was appointed Apostolic Delegate and vicar for Turkey and Greece in Istanbul . In Turkey, the Ataturk Roncalli was working for the small Christian communities as a pastor and bishop of Byzantium. Ataturk , Islam as the state religion was abolished, well disposed towards Christianity is hostile. It was forbidden to wear clerical garb in public. Here he was the Second World War surprised. During the war, he helped Jews escape from the German by the Wehrmacht (since March 1944) occupied Hungary . Roncalli tried to free a larger Jewish refugee group that had been fixed with breakfast in Turkey. As diplomatic negotiations with Franz von Papen were unsuccessful, he requested a letter from the German bishops, should emerge from the that it is the group of German Catholics involved that is the birthplace of St. Paul of Tarsus pilgrimage wanted. This letter was accepted as genuine and paved the alleged Catholics the way forward.

On 22 December 1944 he was commissioned by Pope Pius XII. as Apostolic Nuncio to France added. This task was not easy and required diplomatic skill, as his predecessor to the regime under Philippe Pétain had worked. His friendly nature Roncalli could quickly win over the French, and he succeeded, a majority of bishops, the new French government (under de Gaulle ) were not acceptable to keep in office.

Cardinal and papal election

On 12 January 1953 he was commissioned by Pope Pius XII. the Cardinal (titular church S. Prisca ) and the Patriarch of Venice appointed. The relatively good agreement with the French government was the fact that the President of the French Republic, Vincent Auriol , an old habit of the newly appointed Cardinal put on his red cardinal’s hat.

After the death of Pope Pius XII. Roncalli was on 28 October 1958, the fourth day of the conclave , in the 11th Ballot by the 51 members of the College of Cardinals elected to the papacy, reportedly Roncalli received 38 votes, the second highest number of votes were cast accordingly to Cardinal Grégoire-Pierre Agagianian .

The coronation of the new Pope on 4 November 1958, the feast of St. Charles Borromeo , impressed the international community, as the Pope himself with respect to his baptismal name Giuseppe introduced himself as “I am Joseph your brother” ( Gen. 45.4 EU ).


After his election, Roncalli was called because of his advanced age and his conservative piety in the press as a transitional pope and compromise, however, proved to be one soon, had the courage to make historic changes. On 25 January 1959, he announced before many cardinals in the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls unexpectedly convening the Second Vatican Council to, at the 11th October was officially opened in 1962. His predecessor Pius XI. and Pius XII. had a reopening of the aborted I. Vatican Council, namely thinking, but eventually waived.

Compared to the French philosopher Jean Guitton , the Pope invited as observers to the first lay council, he confessed to, for a long time, since Leo XIII. 1902 of the separated brethren spoke of the ecumenical movement to have considered. The council should be the ” aggiornamento “(=” update “) of the Catholic Church in the 20th Century of and represent. Past achievements he gained in overcoming the Cuban Missile Crisis , when he means a letter from the Catholic John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev gave, as numerous peace initiatives, for example through his encyclical Pacem in Terris .

On 11 May 1963 was the Pope of the Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood among Peoples in the Quirinal Palace in Rome presented. This was the last public appearance of the Pope. [3]

In everyday life as pope, he undertook as a historically valid changes. He managed the Fußkuss and the previously required three bows at private audiences from and increased in one of its first actions, the salaries of employees. [2] His only trip took him a week before the opening of the Council in October 1962 to Loreto and Assisi in order for the success of the same prayer. He was the first pope since Pius IX. of, the summer residence of Castel Gandolfo apart, Rome had left for a trip, which is why the Romans called him, referring to the churches from the Roman walls Giovanni fuori le mura.

The conclusion of the council saw John XXIII. no more than that on 3 June 1963, he died of cancer. He died at 19:50 clock in the Apostolic Palace. After his body by a team of famous Roman corpse taxidermist family Signoracci preserved was, he was solemnly in the Vatican Grottoes buried. [4] Its from him strong favorite successor to him as Cardinal raised Archbishop Montini, Paul VI. led the council in 1965 to end. This opened in 1970 the beatification process for his predecessor. By Pope John Paul II was Pope John XXIII. 3 September 2000 beatified , along with the council of the first Pope Vatican Council (1869/70) Pius IX. resting since his beatification his mummified corpse in a glass coffin in St. Peter’s Basilica at the altar of St. Jerome . Was released in the grave on 8 April 2005 , John Paul II was buried.

Name selection

Until the early 15th Century, John was the most popular name Pope – there were 25 popes and anti-popes of that name.

Was controversial and difficult as the number to count. There were transcription errors and other problems. Mistake was in the count John XX. skipped. The Council of Constance in 1415 to put the end of the schism, two anti-popes from, one of which the name John XXIII. had done. Since then, no longer took the name Pope John. With his choice of name Roncalli helped the most recently approved for official counting application.

Whether a parallel was intentional or not – the penultimate name carriers, . John XXII , was chosen after a long conclave at the age of 72 years. He was 90 years old and reigned very energetic. John XXIII. reigned 4 years and 7 months, he was very active in this period.

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