Joannes I., bishop of Rome
Joannes (346) I., bp. of Rome after
Hormisdas, Aug. 13, 523, to May 18, 526.
The emperor Justin, having during the
pontificate of Hormisdas restored the churches
in the East to orthodoxy and communion
with Rome, continued to shew his orthodox
zeal by the persecution of heretics. Having
already suppressed the Eutychians and
Nestorians, he issued in 523 a severe edict
against Manicheans, condemning them, wherever
found, to banishment or death (Cod.
Justin. leg. 12). Justin's edict had debarred
other heretics from public offices, but had
excepted the Arian Goths because of his
league with Theodoric, the Gothic king of
Italy. Soon afterwards, however, he proceeded
against the Arians also, ordering all
their churches to be consecrated anew for the
use of the Catholics. Theodoric, who, though
an Arian, had hitherto granted toleration to
Catholics in his own dominions, remonstrated
with the emperor by letter, but without effect.
He therefore applied to the bp. of Rome,
whom he sent for to Ravenna, desiring him to
go to Constantinople to use his influence with
the emperor, and threatening that, unless
toleration were conceded to Arians in the
East, he would himself withhold it from
Catholics in the West. John went
accompanied by five bishops and four senators.
The unprecedented event of a visit by
565a bishop of Rome to Constantinople caused a
great sensation there. He was received with
the utmost respect by acclaiming crowds and
by the emperor. Invited by the patriarch
Epiphanius to celebrate Easter with him in
the great church, he consented only if seated
on a throne above that of the patriarch.
He officiated in Latin and according to the
Latin rite. None were excluded from his
communion except Timotheus, patriarch of
Alexandria (Theophan.; Marcellin. Com.).
Anastasius (Lib. Pontif.) states that the
emperor, though now in the 8th year of his
reign, bowing to the ground before the vicar
of St. Peter, solicited and obtained the honour
of being crowned by him. There is concurrence
of testimony that John obtained a
cessation of Justin's measures against the
Arians. Baronius and Binius, anxious to
clear a pope from tolerating heresy, insist that
John dissuaded the emperor from the concessions
demanded. Against this supposition
Pagi (Critic.) cites the following: "Justin,
having heard the legation, promised that he
would do all, except that those who had been
reconciled to the Catholic faith could by no
means be restored to the Arians" (Anonym.
Vales.); "The venerable pope and senators
returned with glory, having obtained all they
asked from Justin" (Anastasius); "Justinus
Augustus granted the whole petition, and
restored to the heretics their churches, according
to the wish of Theodoric the heretical
king, lest Christians, and especially priests,
should be put to the sword" (Auctor. Chron.
Veterum Pontificum); "Having come to
Augustus, they requested him with many
tears to accept favourably the tenour of their
embassy, however unjust; and he, moved by
their tears, granted what they asked, and left
the Arians unmolested" (Miscell. lib. 15,
ad ann. vi. Justin). Whatever the cause, it is
certain that John and the legates were, on returning,
received with displeasure by Theodoric
and imprisoned at Ravenna, where the pope
died on May 18, 526. His body was buried in
St. Peter's at Rome on May 27, on which day
he appears in the Roman Martyrology as a
saint and martyr. See also Fragm. Vales. Greg.
Dial. i. iii. c. 2.