John VIII

John VIII

John VIII, d. 882, pope (872-82), a Roman; successor of Adrian II. John strenuously opposed the activities of St. Ignatius of Constantinople in Bulgaria. When Ignatius died, John recognized Photius as patriarch and called the council (879-80) that momentarily reconciled the differences between East and West. John was deeply involved in imperial politics. He crowned Charles II (Charles the Bald) emperor and excommunicated the future Pope Formosus for opposition to his policy. When Charles II lost his power, John favored Charles the Fat, who became emperor as Charles III. The pope had to bribe the Saracens to keep them from entering Rome. He did much to root out corruption in the church in Rome, and, except for Nicholas I, he was the strongest pope of the 9th cent. He was assassinated by his own relatives. Marinus I succeeded him.
John VIII (John Palaeologus), 1390-1448, Byzantine emperor (1425-48), son and successor of Manuel II. When he acceded, the Byzantine Empire had been reduced by the Turks to the city of Constantinople. John sought in vain to secure Western aid by agreeing at the Council of Florence (1439) to the union of the Eastern and Western churches. His brother, Constantine XI, succeeded him in 1449 and was the last Byzantine emperor.

Legendary female pontiff who supposedly reigned, as Pope John VIII, for about 25 months from 855 to 858. The tale held that she was an Englishwoman who fell in love with a Benedictine monk, disguised herself as a man, and joined his order. After acquiring great learning she moved to Rome, where she became cardinal and then pope. In the earliest version of the story, she was pregnant at the time of her election and gave birth during the procession to the Lateran, whereupon she was dragged out of Rome and stoned to death. The legend, regarded as fact until the 17th century, has since been proved to be apocryphal.

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John VIII Palaiologos or Palaeologus (Greek Ιωάννης Η' Παλαιολόγος, Iōannēs VIII Palaiologos) (December 18 1392October 31 1448, Constantinople), was Byzantine Emperor from 1425 to 1448.

Life

John VIII Palaiologos was the eldest son of Manuel II Palaiologos and Helena Dragaš, the daughter of the Serbian prince Constantine Dragaš. He was associated as co-emperor with his father before 1416 and became sole emperor in 1425.

In June 1422, John VIII Palaiologos supervised the defense of Constantinople during a siege by Murad II, but had to accept the loss of Thessalonica which his brother Andronikos had given to Venice in 1423. To secure protection against the Ottomans, he visited Pope Eugene IV and consented to the union of the Greek and Roman churches. The Union was ratified at the Council of Florence in 1439 which John attended with 700 followers including Patriarch Joseph II of Constantinople and George Gemistos Plethon, a Neoplatonist philosopher influential among the academics of Italy. Union failed due to opposition in Constantinople but by his prudent conduct towards the Ottoman Empire he succeeded in holding possession of the city.

John VIII Palaiologos named his brother Constantine XI, who had served as regent in Constantinople in 1437–1439, as his successor. Despite the machinations of his younger brother Demetrios Palaiologos his mother Helena was able to secure Constantine XI's succession in 1448.

Marriages

He was married three times. The first marriage to Anna of Moscow, daughter of Grand Prince Basil I of Moscow (1389–1425) and Sophia of Lithuania, in 1414. She died in August 1417 of plague. Wedding portrait

The second marriage, arranged by his father Manuel II and Pope Martin V, was to Sophia of Montferrat in 1421. She was a daughter of Theodore II, Marquess of Montferrat and his second wife Joanna of Bar. Joanna was a daughter of Robert I, Duke of Bar and Marie Valois. Her maternal grandparents were John II of France and Bonne of Bohemia.

His third marriage, arranged by the future cardinal, Bessarion. was to Maria of Trebizond in 1427. She was a daughter of Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene. She died in the winter of 1439, also from plague. None of the marriages produced any children.

Representation in art

He was famously depicted by several painters on the occasion of his visit to Italy. Perhaps the most famous of his portraits is the one by Benozzo Gozzoli, on the southern wall of the Magi Chapel, at the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, in Florence. According to some interpretations, John VIII would be also portrayed in Piero della Francesca's Flagellation. A particularly fine portrait of John appears in a manuscript at the Monastery of St. Catherine at Sinaii

Ancestry

References


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