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Updated:  Aug 12, 2013
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Pope John V

(Reigned 685-686)

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.


John V, POPE (685-686), a Syrian whose father was one Cyriacus; when he was born is not known; d. August 2, 686. As a deacon he was one of those who represented the Apostolic See at the Sixth Ecumenical Council. He returned to Rome in July, 682, with the official documents of the synod. He obtained such favor in the eyes of the Emperor Constantine Pogonatus that the latter lessened the taxes which had been imposed on the papal patrimonies in Sicily and Calabria, and generally reduced the fiscal burdens from which the Church suffered. John's energy, learning, and moderation are highly praised by his biographer. It was no doubt the possession of these virtues which caused him to be elected pope in the basilica of St. John Lateran. The necessity of waiting for the imperial confirmation of papal elections having been abolished by Constantine Pogonatus, John was straightway conducted to the Lateran palace as pope. He was consecrated about July 23, 685, and reigned for a little more than a year. From the days of St. Gregory the Great, the Archbishop of Cagliari in Sardinia enjoyed certain metropolitan powers. Although the right of consecrating the bishops of the island was not one of his privileges, Citonatus of Cagliari proceeded to lay hands on the bishop-elect of Turris Libisonis. John, however, definitively declared the See of Turris directly subject to the Holy See. John's generosity showed itself in his liberal donations. In his short pontificate he distributed 1900 solidi to the clergy and to the deaconries for the poor. After a long illness he died on August 2, 686, and was buried in St. Peter's.

HORACE K. MANN


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"We rightly praise the Slavonic letters invented by Cyril, in which praises to God are set forth."
-- Pope John VIII, an excerpt from his sanction of the use of the Slavonic language in the Mass and other church offices, noting the invention by St. Cyril of a special alphabet which now bears his name (Cyrillic); part of the church's civilizing work among the pagan Slavs

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