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From The Lives of the Popes from the Time of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII. Written Originally in Latin by B. Platina, Native of Cremona, and translated into English (from an anonymous translation, first printed in 1685 by Sir Paul Rycaut), Edited by William Benham, Volume I, London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, [1888, undated in text]; pp. 150-152.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.

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A.D. 640-642.

JOHN the Fourth, a Dalmatian, son of Venantius, entering upon the pontificate, forthwith expressed a wonderful compassion, in employing the remainder of the treasury of the Church which Isaac had left behind him, for the redemption of a multitude of Istrians and Dalmatians who had been taken captive. In the meantime, Rhotaris, who succeeded Ariwaldus in the kingdom of Lombardy, though he were a person eminent for justice and piety, yet became a 151 favourer of the Arians, and permitted that in every city of his kingdom there should be at the same time two bishops of equal authority, the one a Catholic, and the other an Arian. He was a prince of great parts, and reduced the laws, which memory and use along had before retained, methodically into a book which he ordered to be called the Edict. His excellence in military skill appeared in that he made himself master of all Tuscany and Liguria, with the sea-coast as far as Marseilles. But in the sixth year of his reign he died, and left the kingdom to his son Rhodoaldus. It is reported that a certain priest entering by night into the church of St John Baptist and there opening the tomb in which the body of Rhotaris lay, robbed it of all the things of value with which the bodies of kings are wont to be interred. Hereupon John Baptist, a saint to whom Rhotaris had been in his lifetime very much devoted, appeared to the priest, and threatened him with death if he ever entered his church again. The like happened even in our times to Cardinal Luigi, Patriarch of Aquileia, whose sepulchre was broken open and pillaged by those very men whom he himself had enriched and raised from a mean condition to the sacerdotal dignity. Rhodoaldus, entering upon the government of the kingdom, marries Gundiberga, the daughter of Queen Theudelinda, who, imitating her mother’s devotion, built and richly adorned a church in honour to St John Baptist at Terracina, in like manner as Theudelinda had done at Monza. But Rhodoaldus being taken in adultery, was slain by the husband of the adultress. Successor to him was Aribertus, son of Gudualdus, and brother of Queen Theudelinda. He built our Saviour’s chapel at Pavia, and very much beautified and plentifully endowed it.

Pope John fearing now lest the bodies of Vincentius and Anastasius might sometime or other be violated by the barbarous nations, took care to have them safely conveyed to Rome, and with great solemnity deposited them in the oratory of St John Baptist, near the baptistery of the Lateran. We are told that in his pontificate Vincentius, Bishop of Beauvais, and Muardus, Archbishop of Rheims, were in great esteem for their learning and sanctity. Moreover, Reginulpha, a French lady, was very eminent for her piety, and Renaldus, Bishop of Trajetto, famous for his life and miracles. Jodocus also was not inferior to any of these, who though he were the son of a king of the Britons, yet despising worldly 152 greatness, became for some time a hermit, and died at length in an obscure village. Pope John having been in the chair one year, nine months, nine days, died, and was buried in the church of St Peter, October the 12th. The see was then vacant one month, thirteen days.

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Previous Pope:  73. Severinus I. 74. John IV. Next Pope: 75. Theodorus I.

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