He was born around 550 in Cyprus where his father was a priest. After the deaths of his wife and children John divided up all his property, joined the priesthood and devoted himself to charitable works. The Emperor learned of the respect in which he was held and named him Patriarch of Alexandria. After some persuasion John accepted this burden and applied every effort to caring for the spiritual and corporal needs of the faithful entrusted to him. He made regular payments to the poor and provided them with spiritual solace, and was behind the creation of a number of orphanages and hospitals. He died during a journey to Constantinople in his native Cyprus in 619 or 620. His cult is particularly strong in the Eastern church.