Pope St John I – Martyr – 18 May

Pope St John I


St. John I was a priest of Rome. He became pope after the death of Pope St. Hormisdas in 523. At that time, Italy’s ruler was Theodoric the Goth, an Arian. (The Arians did not believe that Jesus is God.)

In 523 Emperor Justin of Constantinople decreed that the Arians had to give back to the Catholics the church buildings they had taken. This made Theodoric angry. He forced Pope John to go with a delegation of five bishops and four senators to speak to the emperor. The emperor and all the people of Constantinople went out to meet the pope with a joyful welcome. Justin listened to Pope John, and decided to change his harsh policy.

But Theodoric was not satisfied. He imagined there was a conspiracy against him. He thought that Pope John and Justin I were against him. When the pope was returning to Rome he was kidnapped in Ravenna, Theodoric’s capital. Pope John was thrown into prison by Theodoric’s soldiers. There the pope died of thirst and starvation in 526.

When we’re tempted to have mean thoughts about others, we can pray to St. John I.  He’ll help us avoid Theodoric’s terrible mistake of acting upon our angry or jealous thoughts.

St. John I pray for us.