St. John I, Pope of Rome
Born c. 470 in Tuscany, John was a supporter of anti-pope Lawrence and
reconciled with Symmachus in 506. A friend of Boethius, John was a senior
deacon before his election to the papacy in 523. Two years later, the
Arian Theodoric send the pope to Constantinople to ask Emperor Justin to
lighten his edicts against the Arians, whose churches Justin had closed in
520 and whom he had fired from all government posts. The first pope to
travel to Constantinople, John was well-received and celebrated both
Christmas and Easter in the eastern imperial capital. He failed, however,
to persuade the emperor revoke the laws against Arianism. Legends say that
John was imprisoned on his return to Rome in 526 and died of starvation.
Karen Rae Keck
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