John was a Roman, son of Gundus. Little else in known of his youth until he appeared as an [[archdeacon]] of the church in Rome in 853. After the death of Pope Adrian II, John was elected to succeed to the papal throne on [[December 14]], 872 over the opposition of Formosus, the cardinal [[bishop]] of Porto.
An early issue that confronted John was the displeasure of the German rulers and bishops with the [[missionary]] efforts of Ss. [[Cyril and Methodius]] among the Slavs of Moravia who had the permission of John's predecessor Pope Adrian II to use the Slavonic language in their mission. The Germans had imprisoned [[Methodius of Moravia|Methodius]] in their attempt to further their designs on subjecting the Moravians to their control, both politically and ecclesiastically. Upon hearing of his imprisonment, John ordered Methodius' release, although he prohibited him the use of Slavonic in deference to the Germans. Called by John to come to Rome, Methodius convinced John of his orthodoxy and was sent back to Moravia with renewed permission to use the Slavonic language in [[church]]. By his actions, John hoped to increase his influence among the Bulgarians, which in the end they rejected.
[[Category: Popes of Rome]]