Pope Saint John I
Jul 03, 2015 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast May 18
St. John I was a native of Siena in Tuscany and was one of the seven deacons of Rome when he was elected to the papacy at the death of Pope Hormisdas in the year 523.
At the time, Theodoric the Great ruled over the Ostrogoths in Italy and Justin I was the Byzantine Emperor of Constantinople. King Theodoric supported the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ.
Justin I, the first Catholic on the throne of Constantinople in fifty years, published a severe edict against the Arians, requiring them to return to orthodox Catholics the churches they had taken from them. The said edict caused a commotion among eastern Arians, and spurred Theodoric to threaten war.
Ultimately, he opted for a diplomatic solution and named Pope John, much against his wishes, to head a delegation of five bishops and four senators to Justin.
Pope John, refused to comply with Theodoric’s wishes to influence Justin to reverse his policies. The only thing he did obtain from Justin was for him to mitigate his treatment of Arians, thus avoiding reprisals against Catholics in Italy.
After the delegation returned, Theodoric, disappointed with the result of the mission, and growing daily more suspicious at reports of the friendly relations between the Pope and Justin I, had the pontiff arrested at Ravenna.
Pope John I died in prison a short time later as a result of ill treatment.