Online Encyclopedia

JOHN X

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 434 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHN X., pope from 914 to 928, was deacon at Bologna when he attracted the attention of Theodora, the Wife of Theophylact, the most powerful noble in Rome, through whose influence he was elevated first to the see of Bologna and then to the archbishopric of Ravenna. In direct opposition to a decree of council, he was also at the instigation of Theodora promoted to the papal chair as the successor of Lando. Like John IX. he endeavoured to secure himself against his temporal enemies through a close alliance with Theophylact and Alberic, marquis of Camerino, then governor of the duchy of Spoleto. In December 915 he granted the imperial crown to Berengar, and with the assistance of the forces of all the princes of the Italian peninsula he took the field in person against the Saracens, over whom he gained a regularly in prison (Matt. xi. 2, xiv. 12), and to whom he taught special forms of prayer (Luke v. 33, xi. 1). Some of these afterwards became followers of Christ (John i. 37). John's activity indeed had far-reaching effects. It profoundly influenced the Messianic movement depicted in the Gospels. The preaching of Jesus shows traces of this, and the Fourth Gospel (as well as the Synoptists) displays a marked interest in connecting the Johannine movement with the beginnings of Christianity. The fact that after the lapse of a quarter of a century there were Christians in Ephesus who accepted John's baptism (Acts xviii. 25, xix. 3) is highly significant. This influence also persisted in later times. Christ's estimate of John (Matt. xi. 7 seq.) was a very high one. He also pointedly alludes to John's work and the people's relation to it, in many sayings and parables (some-times in a tone of irony). The duration of John's ministry cannot be determined with certainty: it terminated in his imprisonment in the fortress of Machaerus, to which he had been committed by Herod Antipas, whose incestuous marriage with Herodias, the Baptist had sternly rebuked. His execution cannot with safety be placed later than A.D. 28. In the church calendar this event is commemorated on the 29th of August. According to tradition he was buried at Samaria (Theodoret, H.E. iii. 3). (G. H. Bo.)
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