St. John I (d. 526)
A Pope who suffered political strife. John was born in Tuscany, Italy. He served as a clergyman in Rome, being elected Pope in 523. In these days the Arian heresy (which denied the true Divinity of Christ) was rampant. King Theodoric I (who reigned over much of the former Wester Roman Empire) was himself an Arian, and was displeased with the harsh treatment Arians were receiving under Emperor Justin I in the Byzantine Empire. So Pope John was summoned by King Theodoric to be his delegate with the Emperor Justin. Pope John was well received by Emperor Justin, who wished to be crowned Emperor by the Pope. On his return, Pope John was charged with treason by King Theodoric and cast into prison. There, imprisoned and maltreated, John died after a few days.
O God, who reward faithful souls and who have consecrated this day by the martyrdom of Pope Saint John the First, graciously hear the prayers of your people and grant that we, who venerate his merits, may imitate his constancy in the faith.