Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Saint John I. Pope And Martyr. Reigned From 523 A.D. - 526 A.D. Feast Day 27 May.

Text, unless stated otherwise, from "The Liturgical Year",
by Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B. Translated from the French by Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B.
Volume 8, Paschal Time, Book II. Re-published by St. Bonaventure Publications,
July 2000.

Illustration of Pope Saint John I.
Date: 1911.
Author: Artaud de Montor, Alexis François.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Palm of Martyrdom was won by this holy Pope, not in a victory over a pagan persecutor, but in battling for The Church's liberty against a Christian King. But the King was a Heretic and, therefore, an enemy of every Pontiff that was zealous for the triumph of The True Faith.

The state of Christ's Vicar, here on Earth, is a state of combat; and it frequently happens that a Pope is veritably a Martyr, without having shed his blood. Pope Saint John I, whom we honour, today, was not slain by the sword; a loathsome dungeon was the instrument of his Martyrdom; but there are many Popes who are now in Heaven with him, Martyrs, like himself, who never even passed a day in prison or in chains; the Vatican was their Calvary.

They conquered, yet fell in the struggle with so little appearance of victory, that Heaven had to take up the defence of their reputation, as was the case with that angelic Pontiff of the 18th-Century, Pope Clement XIII.

Today's Saint (Pope Saint John I) teaches us, by his conduct, what should be the sentiment of every worthy member of The Church. He teaches us that we should never make a compromise with Heresy, nor approve the measures taken by Worldly policy for securing what it calls the rights of Heresy. If the past ages, aided by the Religious indifference of governments, have introduced the toleration of all Religions, or even the principle that "all Religions are to be treated alike by the State," let us, if we will, put up with this latitudinarianism, and be glad to see that The Church, in virtue of it, is guaranteed from legal persecution; but, as Catholics, we can never look upon it as an absolute good.

Whatever may be the circumstances in which Providence has placed us, we are bound to conform our views to the principles of our Holy Faith, and to the infallible teaching and practice of The Church - out of which there is but contradiction, danger and infidelity.

The Holy Liturgy thus extols the virtues and courage of our Saint, Pope Saint John I.

This image is a faithful representation of an icon inside the Basilica of Saint Paul-Outside-the-Walls. The author(s) is unknown and the image is centuries old. As such, it falls into the public domain. 
See for documentation.
Source: ("Pope's Photo Gallery").
Author: Unknown.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Pope John I (Latin: Ioannes PP. I, Italian: Giovanni I; circa 470 A.D. – 18 May 526 A.D.) was Pope from 13 August 523 A.D. to 18 May 526 A.D. He was a native of Siena (or the "Castello di Serena"), near Chiusdino, in Italy. He is the first Pope known to have visited Constantinople while in Office.

While a Deacon, in Rome, he is known to have been a partisan of the Anti-Pope, Laurentius, for, in a libellus, written to Pope Symmachus in 506 A.D, John confessed his error in opposing him, condemned Peter of Altinum and Laurentius, and begged pardon of Symmachus. He would then be the "Deacon John" who signed the acta (Ecclesiastic publication) of The Roman Synod of 499 A.D., and 502 A.D.; the fact The Roman Church only had seven Deacons, at the time, makes identifying him with this person very likely. He may also be the "Deacon John" to whom Boethius, the 6th-Century A.D. philosopher, dedicated three of his five Religious tractates, or treatises, written between 512 A.D., and 520 A.D.

John was very frail when he was Elected to The Papacy as Pope John I. Despite his protests, Pope John was sent by the Arian King, Theodoric the Great, - Ruler of The Ostrogoths, a Kingdom in present-day Italy - to Constantinople, to secure a moderation of a Decree against The Arians, issued in 523 A.D., of Emperor Justin, Ruler of The Byzantine, or East Roman, Empire.

King Theodoric threatened that, if John should fail in his mission, there would be reprisals against The Orthodox, or non-Arian, Catholics in The West. John proceeded to Constantinople with a considerable entourage: His Religious companions included Bishop Ecclesius of Ravenna, Bishop Eusebius of Fanum Fortunae, and Sabinus of Campania. His secular companions were the Senators, Flavius Theodorus, Inportunus, Agapitus, and the patrician Agapitus.

Emperor Justin is recorded as receiving John honorably and promised to do everything the embassy asked of him, with the exception of restoring converts from Arianism to Catholicism to their original beliefs. Although John was successful in his mission, when he returned to Ravenna, Theodoric's Capital in Italy, Theodoric had John arrested on the suspicion of having conspired with Emperor Justin. John was imprisoned at Ravenna, where he died of neglect and ill treatment. His body was transported to Rome and buried in the Basilica of Saint Peter.

The Liber Pontificalis credits John with making repairs to the Cemetery of The Martyrs, Nereus and Achilleus, on the Via Ardeatina, that of Saints Felix and Adauctus, and the Cemetery of Priscilla.

Pope John I is depicted in art as looking through the bars of a prison, or imprisoned with a Deacon and a Sub-Deacon. He is Venerated at Ravenna and in Tuscany.

The following Text is from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal.

Saint John I.
   Pope and Martyr.
   Feast Day 27 May.


Red Vestments.

Pope Saint John I (523 A.D. - 526 A.D.) governed The Church at the time when the Arian King Theoderic ravaged Italy. This King, having artfully enticed him to Ravenna, caused him to be thrown into a dark dungeon where he died.

His body was buried in Rome in the Basilica of Saint Peter.

Mass: In Paschaltime: Protexisti.
Mass: Out of Paschaltime: Sacerdotes Dei.

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