Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hail, Martyred Pontiff

Today is the feast of Pope St. John I, elected Pope in 523 AD, martyred in 526 AD.  He was sent as ambassador by Theodoric, the Arian emperor in Rome, to Justinian, the orthodox emperor in Constantinople.  Pope St. John I's mission was to seek the withdrawal by Justinian of a severe edict he'd issued against the Arians.  Pope St. John I was received with respect and affection by Justinian, to whom Pope St. John counseled gentleness towards the Arians.  Nevertheless, Theodoric was displeased with Pope St. John I, and Theodoric had Pope St. John I imprisoned upon his return.  Pope St. John shortly died from his treatment in prison, and is therefore revered as a martyr.

From the Office of Lauds for the feast of Pope St. John I, courtesy of Universalis:

Lord God, who give faithful souls their reward, you have consecrated this day to the martyrdom of Pope Saint John the First.
Listen to your people’s prayer: grant that, as we honour his sanctity, we may follow his constancy in faith.

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