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Pope John III

Pope John III 61st Roman Catholic Pontiff 561-574

61st Pontiff (561-574)

John Catelinus, a Roman, was born of a distinguished family and became Pope John III on July 17, 561.  Pope John III was particularly concerned for the people's welfare.

This era marks a true transition period from ancient to early medieval times. Pope John III is noted for his care of the monuments of Christian antiquity and sanctioned the completion of the Church of Saints Philip and James, a Byzantine structure radiant with mosaics.

Bishop Salonius of Embrun and Bishop Sagittarius of Gap were two bishops who had been condemned in a synod at Lyons in 567. They convinced King Guntram of Burgundy that they had been unjustly condemned, and the king appealed to Pope John III.  Considerate of the king's letters of endorsement, Pope John III restored Bishop Salonius and Bishop Sagittarius to their Sees; however, their later deeds caused them to be deposed again at the synod of Chalons in 579.

Important was Pope John III’s relationship with General Narses.  General Narses had safeguarded Italy from the Goths and continued to protect the country during the pontificate of Pope John III.  General Narses destroyed several armies of barbarians on behalf of threatened Italians.

Pope John III took leave for many months in the Church of Saints Tiburtius and Valerian in the Catacomb of Praetextatus along The Appian Way.  Upon the death of General Narses in 572, Pope John III returned from the catacombs to the Lateran Palace.  Because of his respite in the catacombs, Pope John III was instrumental in the preservation of the catacombs.

Pope John III died July 13, 574, and was buried in Saint Peter's Basilica.

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