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