John I


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(d. 526),

pope. Tuscan by birth, John joined the clergy of Rome and held the important office of archdeacon. Friend and confidant of Boethius, in 523 he was chosen bishop of Rome in succession to Hormisdas in spite of advanced years and failing health. His short episcopate was mainly filled by the embassy which the Arian Emperor Theodoric the Goth compelled him to make to Byzantium. The object of this was to obtain toleration for the Arians in the East; if he failed, there would be reprisals against the orthodox Catholics in the West. John was received with immense enthusiasm and respect by the Greeks, but obtained only minor concessions from the Eastern Emperor. When he returned to Ravenna, then Theodoric's capital, he was imprisoned because Theodoric suspected him of betrayal and of siding with the Eastern Emperor against him. John died in prison shortly afterwards. He was responsible for introducing to the West the Alexandrian calculation of Easter. Feast: 18 May.

AA.SS. Maii VI (1688), 702–10; L. Duchesne, Le Liber Pontificalis, i. 276; O.D.P., pp. 54–5.

Subjects: Christianity.

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