[St. Pachomius Library]

St. John IV, Patriarch of Constantinople, called the Faster

VI Century
An ascetic known as the Faster, Patriarch John IV of Constantinople was, according to legend, a shoemaker who lived in voluntary poverty before Patriarch John III Scholasticus ordained him a deacon. John the Faster was then put in charge of the funds to be distributed to the poor. Elected patriarch in 582/583, John became an intimate of Emperor Maurice and instituted, in spite of imperial disagreement, capital punishment for magicians. John declared the see of Constantinople the equal of Rome and took the title Ecumenical Patriarch, over the protests of Pelagius and Gregory the Great. John based his "Repentance, Self-control, and Virginity" on the work of John Chrysostom, and although a penitential has long been attributed to John, scholars now doubt the work is his. John died in 595.

Karen Rae Keck


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