Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Justinus II
Justinus (13) II., emperor, nephew of Justinian, son of his sister Vigilantia. He was appointed Curopalates or Master of the Palace by his uncle (Corip. i. 138). The night Justinian died, a deputation of the senate, headed by the patrician Callinicus, hurried to his house and persuaded him to accept the crown. In the early morning he was saluted emperor by the populace in the hippodrome. The same day (Nov. 14, 565) he was crowned by the patriarch John (Theophan. Cron. in Patr. Gk. cviii. 525), and received the homage of the senate and people in the hippodrome.
Justin, on his accession, declared himself an adherent of the decrees of Chalcedon, and restored to their sees the bishops who had been banished by his predecessor (Venantius Fortunatus, ad Justinum, 25–26, 39–44, in Patr. Lat. lxxxviii. 432). The edict is given in probably a corrupt form by Evagrius (H. E. v. 1, in Patr. Gk. lxxxvi. 2789), and also by Nicephorus Callistus (H. E. xvii. 33) Soon afterwards another edict was published, given at length by Evagrius (H. E. v. 4), in which, after setting forth the orthodox belief as to the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, he exhorted all to return to the Catholic Church, which should remain firm and unchanged for ever; and that no one should for the future dispute about persons or syllables, probably referring to the person of Theodore and the writings of Theodoret and Ibas, and also to the question as to the Incorruptibility of the body of Christ. This edict gained general approval, as all interpreted it in favour of their own views, but none of the various sects returned to communion, in consequence of the emperor's declaration that no change was to be made in the church. Justin also early in his reign sent Photinus, the stepson of Belisarius, with full powers to reconcile the churches of Egypt and Alexandria, but his mission seems to have been fruitless.
For the secular events of his reign see JUSTINUS II., D. of G. and R. Biogr.
In May 568 a rescript was issued to Spes-in-Deum, the archbp. of the Byzacene province in Africa, confirming the privileges of his church and synod by which he was the sole judge of charges brought against any bishops or clergy within his jurisdiction, and in Nov. (Clinton, Fasti, 825) a law (Nov. cxlix.) was promulgated addressed to the bishops and leading men of each province directing them to choose the governors (praesides) themselves and to submit the names to the emperor, who would invest them with their offices. At the end of 570 or the beginning of 571, Anastasius, bp. of Antioch, was deposed and Gregorius substituted in his place. [ANASTASIUS SINAITA (1); GREGORIUS (31).] On May 18, 572, a stringent law was passed against the Samaritans (Nov. cxliv.). They were declared incapable of inheriting under a will or an intestacy and of exercising testamentary powers except in favour of Christians. Otherwise the goods of the deceased were forfeited to the treasury. For the sake of agriculture farmers were exempted from these provisions. Samaritans were also declared incapable of holding any civil or military employments. Baptized Samaritans who observed the sabbath or other rites of their creed were punished with perpetual exile. A Samaritan was declared incapable of having a Christian slave; if he bought one, the slave ipso facto became entitled to his freedom; while a Samaritan slave became free on embracing Christianity. Justin at length was seized with madness, and died, Oct. 5, 578, after reigning nearly 13 years.