John XX, brother of Benedict VIII, was a layman, and the first who, without being in holy orders, reached the pontificate. He was elected on the 6th of June, 1024. He would neither yield to the entreaties nor receive the gifts of the Constantinopolitans, who asked for the Oriental Church in the East the title of Universal, which the Roman Church had for all the Christian world. Thence originated anew differences between the Latin and Greek churches.
Conrad II, the Salic, visiting Rome in the year 1027, John crowned him emperor on Easter day of that year.
On that occasion, Canute, King of England, was at Rome in the habit of a pilgrim, having come to prostrate himself at the tomb of the Holy Apostle. It was at that period that commenced the English tribute to Rome known as Peter's pence.
The Parisians and the inhabitants of Limoges had a dispute whether Saint Martial should be styled only Confessor, or, as those of Limoges wished, Apostle also. The pope decided in favor of the Parisians, and caused a fine altar to be raised to that saint in Saint Peter's. Saint Martial was Bishop of Limoges when Decius was emperor. In 1032 the pope beatified Saint Romuald, founder of the Camaldolensian monks. His canonization did not occur till the reign Pope Clement VIII.
John governed the Church nearly nine years. He died in 1033, and was interred at the Vatican, between the Silver and the Roman gates.
*Disclaimer* This biographical data is from "The Lives and Times of the Popes" by The Chevalier Artaud De Montor. Published by The Catholic Publication Society of New York in ten volumes in 1911. The pictures, included in the volumes, were reproduced from " Effigies Pontificum Romanorum Dominici Basae."