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Pope John VIII or Pope John was an Antipope of the Roman Catholic church, during the year of 844. On the death of Pope Gregory IV, the Archdeacon John was proclaimed Pope by popular acclamation, while the nobility elected Pope Sergius II, a Roman of noble birth. The opposition was suppressed, with Sergius intervening to save John's life. Sergius was then consecrated immediately, without seeking the ratification of the Frankish court. There is a rumor that Pope John VIII was actually the first woman Pope or "Pope Joan." It is said that she was Pope for two years with everyone believing that she was male until one day she gave birth on the side of the road for everyone to see. Pope Joan is regarded by most modern historians and religious scholars as fictitious, possibly originating as an anti-papal satire.

References

"Roman Catholic Hierarchy". The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2005. http://elibrary.bigchalk.com/libweb/elib/do/document?set=search&groupid=1&requestid=lib_standard&resultid=6&edition=&ts=20F7FD137584A8068A6E8AF0209246A3_1169078506104&urn=urn%3Abigchalk%3AUS%3BBCLib%3Bdocument%3B106630206. Retrieved 2007-01-17.  

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