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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.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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