Pope John II

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John II
Bishop of Rome
ChurchCatholic Church
SeeHoly See
Papacy began2 January 533
Papacy ended8 May 535
PredecessorBoniface II
SuccessorAgapetus I
Personal details
Birth nameMercurius
Died8 May 535
BuriedSt. Peter's Basilica
Other popes named John

Pope John II (Latin: Ioannes II; died 8 May 535), born Mercurius, was the bishop of Rome from 2 January 533 to his death. As a priest at St. Clement's Basilica, he endowed that church with gifts and commissioned stone carvings for it.

Early life[edit]

Monogram of John II on a marble slab in St. Clement's Basilica

Mercurius was born in Rome, son of Praeiectus. He became a priest at St. Clement's Basilica on the Caelian Hill,[1] and even before becoming pope he had commissioned work for the basilica and made generous donations.[2] The basilica still retains memorials of "Johannes surnamed Mercurius";[1] he donated plutei and transennae.[3] A reference to "Presbyter Mercurius" is found on a fragment of an ancient ciborium. Several marble slabs that enclose the schola cantorum bear upon them, in the style of the sixth century, his monogram.[1]


Mercurius was elected pope on 2 January 533, apparently the first pope to adopt a new name upon elevation to the papacy.[1]

The notoriously adulterous behavior of Bishop Contumeliosus of Riez caused John to order the bishops of Gaul to confine him in a monastery.[4][5] Until a new bishop could be appointed, he bade the clergy of Riez to obey the Bishop of Arles.[1]


In 535, 217 bishops assembled in a council at Carthage submitted to John II a decision about whether bishops who had lapsed into Arianism should, on repentance, keep their rank or be admitted only to lay communion. The question of re-admittance to the lapsed troubled north Africa for centuries (see Novatianism and Donatism). The answer to their question was given by Agapetus I, as John II died on 8 May 535. He was buried in St Peter's Basilica.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainMann, Horace K. (1910). "Pope John II". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. ^ Lapidge, Michael (2017). The Roman Martyrs: Introduction, Translations, and Commentary. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford University Press. p. 167. ISBN 9780192539359.
  3. ^ Lloyd, Joan Barclay (2017). "Sixth-Century Art and Architecture in 'Old Rome': End or Beginning?". In Allen, Pauline; Jeffreys, Elizabeth (eds.). The Sixth Century: End or Beginning?. Byzantina Australiensia. Brill. pp. 224–36. ISBN 9789004344709.
  4. ^ De Jong, Mayke (2000). "Transformations of Penance". In Theuws, Frans; Nelson, Janet Laughland (eds.). Rituals of Power. Brill. p. 202. ISBN 9789004109025.
  5. ^ Wikisource Wace, Henry; Piercy, William C., eds. (1911). "Joannes II. Mercurius, bishop of Rome" . Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century (3rd ed.). London: John Murray.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Boniface II
Succeeded by
Agapetus I