Joannes III., bishop of Jerusalem
Joannes (217) III., bp. of Jerusalem, 513–524.
On the banishment of Elias, bp. of
Jerusalem, by the emperor Anastasius, John,
deacon of the Anastasis, was forcibly thrust
into his episcopal seat by Olympius, prefect
of Palestine, on his engaging to receive Severus
of Antioch into communion and to anathematize
the decrees of Chalcedon (Cyrill. Scythop.
Vit. S. Sab. cc. 37, 56). Such an engagement
awoke the orthodox zeal of St. Sabas and the
other fathers of the desert, who successfully
used their influence with the new-made bishop
to prevent the fulfilment of the compact,
which Olympius lacked sufficient firmness to
enforce. Anastasius, recalling Olympius, dispatched
in his room a name-sake of his own,
who had offered to forfeit 300 pounds of gold
if he failed to induce John to fulfil his agreement,
A.D. 517. The prefect Anastasius surprised
the unsuspicious bishop and threw him
into prison until he should fulfil his promise.
This step delighted the populace, who regarded
John as having obtained Elias's seat
by fraud. Zacharias, one of the leading men
of Caesarea, gaining a secret interview with
the imprisoned bishop, persuaded him to
feign assent to Anastasius's requirements and
promise, if he would release him from prison,
to publicly signify, on the following Sunday,
his agreement to the original conditions.
Anastasius, believing John's professions,
liberated him. On the Sunday a vast concourse
assembled, including 10,000 monks.
Anastasius was present with his officials to
receive the expected submission. John,
having ascended the ambo, supported by
Theodosius and Sabas, the leaders of the
monastic party, was received with vociferous
shouts, "Anathematize the heretics!" "Confirm
the synod!" When silence was secured,
John and his two companions pronounced a
joint anathema on Nestorius, Eutyches,
Soterichus of the Cappadocian Caesarea, and
all who rejected the decrees of Chalcedon.
Anastasius, utterly unprepared for this open
violation of the compact, was too much
terrified by the turbulent multitude, evidently
prepared for violence, and hastily escaped to
Caesarea. The emperor, though furious, had
too much on his hands to attend to ecclesiastical
disputes at Jerusalem, and John was
allowed to go unpunished. The death of
Anastasius in 518, and the succession of
Justin, changed the whole situation.
Orthodoxy was now in the ascendant. The
whole East followed the example of the
capital, and John could, without fear of
consequences, summon his synod to make the
same profession of faith with his brother-patriarch
in the imperial city, and was
received into communion by pope Hormisdas,
at the request of Justin (ib. c. 60). John died
A.D. 524, after an episcopate of 11 years.
Theophan. Chronogr. p. 136; Tillem. Mém. eccl.
xvi. 721; Fleury, H. E. livre xxi. cc. 27, 28;
Le Quien, Or. Christ. iii. 185.