Standard Article

John XXIII, Pope (1881–1963)

  1. Michael Coulter

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0736

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Coulter, M. 2011. John XXIII, Pope (1881–1963). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Pope John XXIII, born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli on November 25, 1881, was the 261st Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elected as pope in 1958 and was best known for calling the Second Vatican Council in January 1959, just a few months after becoming pope, to achieve the aggiornamento (“updating”) of the Church, though he did not live to see its completion.


  • John XXIII, Pope (1881–1963);
  • “il papa buono” (“the good pope”);
  • greatest legacy, an ecumenical council;
  • mater et magistra