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Friday, May 27, 2011

Saint John I, Pope and Martyr

Saint John I, Pope and Martyr

Pope John I was a Tuscan, who began to rule the Church in 523 ; and almost immediately it became necessary to get the help of the Emperor Justinian, because of the troubles which the heretical King Theodoric was then causing in Italy. Whereupon Pope John went to Constantinople, where he was met by the Emperor and an immense multitude of people, who had come forth with Justinian to do him honour. There, at the entering in of the golden Gate of Constantinople, it is said that is the presence of them all John gave sight to a blind man. When he had arranged his business with Justinian he returned into Italy, bidding them hallow for Catholic worship the churches of the Arians, and adding these words : We ourselves when we were at Constantinople on some matters pertaining to the Catholic religion, and others pertaining to King Theodoric , hallowed as Catholic all their Churches which we were able to find in those parts. Theodoric took this rule very ill ; and having enticed John by fraud to come to Ravenna, he cast him into prison, wherein, in a few days, died of filth and hunger, for which reason he is venerated as a Martyr. He had sat in the Chair of Peter two years, nine months, and fourteen days, within which time he had ordained fifteen bishops. A little while afterward Theodoric also died. The body of John was carried from Ravenna to Rome, and there buried in the Church of Saint Peter.


Be merciful to the people of thy flock, O Lord thou eternal Shepherd and Bishop of the souls of men : and keep us in thy continual protection ; at the intercession of thy blessed Martyr, the Holy Father John, whom thou didst raise up in thy Church to be thine under-shepherd, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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