Pope St. John I

Pope John I was the 53rd Catholic Pope. He held the position briefly from 523 to 526. However, in that short time, he managed to end the Acacian Schism and restore peace with the Byzantine Emperor.


The exact date of Pope John’s birth is unknown. It’s thought that he was born sometime around 470 AD in Tuscany. He grew up in Sienna, which is a city in Tuscany.

History with the Church

He joined the church at an early age, climbing the ranks and eventually becoming cardinal around the year 495. He was in his 20s around this time, making him one of the younger members of the church. Before he became Pope, he accomplished many things as a deacon.

Many events in history remain unclear. But, it’s thought that John I was the “Deacon John” who signed the publication of the Roman Synod. Many Church historians also believe that he the “Deacon John” whom Boethius dedicated some of his treatises to.

One of the more controversial events of Pope John’s time as a deacon was his support of Antipope Laurentius. He eventually had a change of heart and begged pardon of Pope Symmachus.


John I was elected Pope at an old age. By historian’s account, he was already quite frail by the time his papacy started. Even still, he was ordered by Theodoric the Great to travel to Constantinople.

The pope inherited the Arian heresy, which divided Italy and the Church. Around the time his papacy started, the heretics were treated poorly. Thus, he was tasked with speaking to Byzantine emperor Justin I in an attempt to soften the measures taken against Arian Christians.

He was successful. Justin I received Pope John I honorably. His actions helped restore peace between the papacy and the Byzantine Empire. Unfortunately, this ended the peace between the papacy and the Ostrogoths in Italy.

Upon his return from Constantinople, Theodoric the Great has John I imprisoned. He believed that the Pope was conspiring with the Byzantine emperor to take his throne. He was imprisoned in Ravenna, where he was severely mistreated and neglected. Pope John I died shortly after his imprisonment.

List of Events In The Life of Pope St. John I

13 Aug 523ElectedPope (Roma, Italy)
13 Aug 523Ordained BishopPope (Roma, Italy)
18 May 526DiedPope (Roma, Italy)

Quick Facts About Pope John I

  • Pope John I was born circa 470 AD.
  • His birth name is unknown.
  • Pope John I died on May 18th, 526.
  • Pope John I died in prison. The exact cause of his death is unknown, but most historians believe it was due to starvation and neglect.
  • The papacy of John I started on August 13th, 523.
  • It ended upon his death on May 18th, 526.
  • Pope John I was succeeded by Pope Felix IV

Interesting Facts About Pope John I

  • Pope John I was honored as a martyr upon his death, eventually earning the title of Saint.
  • His feast day is on the anniversary of his death, May 18th.
  • The body of Pope John I is buried at the Basilica of St. Peter
  • In artwork, John I is often depicted behind bars.
  • He was the first Pope to go to Constantinople

All of the Popes that took the name “John”

There has been 21 popes that have taken the name of John.

John I (St.) (#53) (523 – 526)
John II (#56) (533 – 535)
John III (#61) (561 – 574)
John IV (#72) (640 – 642)
John V (#82) (685 – 686)
John VI (#85) (701 – 705)
John VII (#86) (705 – 707)
John VIII (#108) (872 – 882)
John IX (#117) (898 – 900)
John X (#123) (914 – 928)
John XI (#126) (931 – 935)
John XII (#131) (955 – 963)
John XIII (#134) (965 – 972)
John XIV (#137) (983 – 984)
John XV (#138) (985 – 996)
John XVII (#141) (1003)
John XVIII (#142) (1003 – 1009)
John XIX (#145) (1024 – 1032)
John XXI (#188) (1276 – 1277)
John XXII (#197) (1316 – 1334)
John XXIII (Blessed) (#262) (1958 – 1963)

Take a look at all the Popes who’s name began with a J