Patriarch John IV of Constantinople

Infobox Saint
name=John the Faster
death_date=September 2, 595
feast_day=August 30
venerated_in=Eastern Orthodoxy
Roman Catholicism


John IV, also known as John Nesteutes or John the Faster (died September 2 595), was the 33rd bishop or Patriarch of Constantinople (April 11 582 - 595). He was the first to assume the title "Ecumenical Patriarch". He is regarded as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church which a feast on September 2.

Joannes (surnamed "The Faster", "Jejunator", sometimes also "Cappadox") was born at Constantinople of artisan parents, and worked as a sculptor. In 587 or 588, he summoned the bishops of the East in the name of "the Ecumenical Patriarch" to decide the cause of Gregory, Patriarch of Antioch, who was acquitted and returned to his episcopal see. Pope Pelagius II solemnly annulled the acts of this council. In 593, John was severely blamed by Pope Gregory I for having allowed an Isaurian presbyter named Anastasius, who had been accused of heresy, to be beaten with ropes in the church of Constantinople.

In 595, the controversy was again rife about the title of Ecumenical Patriarch. The Patriarch of Rome resided in the ancient capital, in a see founded by Saint Peter; the Patriarch of Constantinople was at the current imperial capital. Gregory wrote to his legate Sabinianus forbidding him to communicate with John. In the case of a presbyter named Athanasius, accused of being to some extent a Manichean, and condemned as such, Gregory tried to show that the accuser was himself a Pelagian, and that by the carelessness, ignorance, or fault of John IV, the Nestorian council of Ephesus had actually been mistaken for the Orthodox Council of Ephesus.


Isidore of Seville ("de Script. Eccl." 26) attributes to him only a letter, not now extant, on baptism addressed to St. Leander. John, he says, "propounds nothing of his own, but only repeats the opinions of the ancient Fathers on trine immersion."

There are, however, several works attributed to John IV still extant:

*His Penitential, "Libellus Poenitentialis", or, as it is described in Book III of the work of Leo Allatius, "de Consensu Utriusque Ecclesiae" (Rome, 1655, quarto), "Praxis Graecis Praescripta in Confessione Peragenda".
*"Instructio, qua non modo confitens de confessione pie et integre edenda instituitur, sed etiam sacerdos, qua ratione confessiones excipiat, poenitentiam imponat et reconciliationem praestet informatur".
*Homily on penitence, continence, and virginity. It is often printed among Chrysostom's homilies, but now agreed not to be Chrysostom's. Montfaucon, Vossius, and Pearson held it to be by John the Faster; Morel and Savile printed it among Chrysostom's works.
*Homily on False Prophets and False Doctrine. It is attributed occasionally to Chrysostom, by Peter Wastel to John of Jerusalem, but by Vossius, Petavius, and Cave to John the Faster.
*A set of Precepts to a Monk, in a manuscript at the Paris library.

The Orthodox in the Middle Ages always attributed the first two of these to the Patriarch.


*Jacques Paul Migne reproduces the "Penitential", the "Instructions for Confession", and the "Homily on Penitence" in Patrologia Graeca lxxxviii. 1089.
*Baronius, ad. ann. 588-593
*"Acta Sanctorum" (Bollandist) Aug. 1, p. 69
*Fleury, ii. bk. xxxiv. c. 44, etc.
*Ceillier, xi. 427, etc.
*Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. xi. 108, xii. 239.

External links

* [ Catholic Encyclopedia]
* [ St John the Faster the Patriarch of Constantinople] Orthodox icon and synaxarion


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