JOHN THE FASTER
JOHN THE FASTER, Patriarch of Constantinople, ascetic, St. (?–595). Patriarch from 582 and renowned for his asceticism (q.v.), John IV was the first to take the title Ecumenical (i.e., universal, but properly meaning “imperial”) Patriarch (q.v.) in 587. The new title drew the ire of Popes Pelagius and Gregory the Great, and the latter’s letter writing campaign against Joh n lasted as long as his distinguished stay in the papacy (q.v.). It is very doubtful, however, that the popes’ anger was entirely justified. Joh n was certainly not trying to claim jurisdiction over all the local churches. The title was rather indicative of the Archbishop of Constantinople’s special relationship with the emperors and court of Byzantium (q.v.).