As was all too common at the time, Pope Lando had another very short-lived papacy. His reign was from about September 913 to about March 914. The Liber claims he sat on the throne of Peter 4 months, 22 days. Gregory of Catino claims 6 months, 26 days and Flodoard of Reims claims 6 months, 10 days. All that is known for sure is that he was mentioned in a document at Ravenna as alive on 5 February 914 and Pope John X was elected in late March or early April 914.
Lando’s claim to fame is that he was the last pope to have not adopted a previously used name until Pope Francis did in 2013.
Born in the Sabine, a hilly region in central Italy, Lando (his given name) was the son of a wealthy Lombard count named Taino. The count was from the small settlement of Fornovo, forty miles north of Rome. The settlement was later referred to as Vescovio.
Lando was the candidate of Count Theophylact and his wife, Senatrix Theodora, the original power couple. They even had their two daughters, Theodora and Marozia reap the rewards of ruling a whole Church. Theophylact had had an active role in the papacy for years, originally being given the office of vestarius by Pope Formosus. This was the second highest position in the papal household after the seven judges. The vestarius managed the finances for the pope as well as his wardrobe. This position also acted as ambassador at one time and even sat with the pope in giving judgements. Theophylact, himself, also controlled the Roman military and the Roman Senate. Lando was, essentially, a puppet.
The Saracens had set up a settlement base on the Garigliano River, a year or two before. They spread out, attacking towns and trying to take control of central Italy. As it happened, the raiders destroyed the cathedral of San Salvatore in Lando’s hometown of Vescovio. While there are no documents original to the time of this papacy, the Judicial Act of 1431 stipulates that Lando donated a generous private gift to the diocese to aid in repairing the cathedral.
Meanwhile, the Saracens, in the summer of 914, raided their way until they were encroaching the papal cities. But, by then, Pope Lando had died. As in many popes of this era, little is known, even to how they died or where they were buried. Pope Lando is one.
Pope John X was the next man to live under the thumb of Theophylact and his wife.