Popes in a Year
#85 - Pope John VI
Pope from October 30, 701 - January 11, 705
Died: January 11, 705
Give me the scoop on John VI.
Born at Ephesus around the year 655, John VI was elected almost two months after the death of St. Sergius I. Due to the declining Byzantine Empire, territories in and around Rome were attacked by Gisulf, a duke of the Lombard Kingdom. John VI, being a savvy and resourceful man, was able to persuade Gisulf to go bother someone else by sending priests to his camp and paying ransom for those held captive by the duke. Other accomplishments by John VI included helping out a persecuted St. Wilfrid, bishop of York, and sending a
to Brithwald, the new Archbishop of Canterbury. John VI died January 11, 705, having been pope for just over three years.
What was he known for?
John VI is known most for saving the Exarch of Ravenna’s bacon. The emperor’s representative had few fans in Rome, considering how poorly Rome’s popes had been treated by the imperial crown for many decades prior. So, when the exarch traveled through the Eternal City, it was solely John VI who saved the man from attack and probable death at the hands of Roman militias.
Yet another pope with a penchant for beautifying churches, John VI is credited with constructing an ambon (what lectors, priests, and deacons read from at Mass) in the Basilica of St. Andrew the Apostle, a new altar cloth in St. Mark’s Basilica, and suspended white veils flanking the altar in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
King Aethelred I, the Anglo-Saxon king of Mercia in England, resigned his throne in 702 after a 30-year reign. Aethelred opted instead for a monastery in Bardney, becoming a monk and serving as abbot there until his death.
Coming Monday....Pope John VII
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Pope John VI -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Friday, April 28 at 2:00AM