(Died 432 AD)

Bishop Giovanni (John) I of Naples served his episcopate during a turbulent political period, as well as a time of religious upheaval. He is chiefly remembered today for transferring the remains of San Gennaro (St. Januarius) from Marciano, near Pozzuoli where the martyr died, to the then suburban Neapolitan cemetery.

That sacred ground would become the largest cemetery, a series of catacombs, of the Christian community of Naples, indeed in Southern Italy. As the number of tombs carved out of the subterranean rock grew, spaces for worship were also carved out.

Eventually that cemetery would take the name of the Gennaro, the martyr and patron of the city. The catacomb would ­­­become the final resting place of Neapolitan bishops up to the eleventh century. During World War II, the Catacombs of San Gennaro were used as bomb shelters for the people of Naples.

It is said that three days before Giovanni died, he had a vision of the recently deceased Bishop of Nola, a dear friend. He came to him to announce that the end of Giovanni’s life was at hand. During a liturgical celebration on Holy Saturday of 432, exactly three days after the apparition. On the following day Giovanni was laid to rest in the very oratory he was instrumental in building to honor the remains of San Gennaro.

Adapted by A.J. Valentini from: Ambrasi, D. (2018, May 3). San Giovanni I di Napoli su Santiebeati.It.