Saint of the Day – 10 January – St John Camillus the Good (Died c 669) Confessor, Archbishop of Milan from c. 641 until his death. Known as “the Good” for his great charity and generosity, his holiness, devotion and his many miracles. Additional Memorials – 2 January on some calendars, 15 January in Milan and 25 September together with all the Saint Bishops of Milan. Also known as – John Bonus, John Camillus, John the Good of Milan, Giovanni Bonus.
The Bishop of Milan, Honoratus, escaped to Genoa and Honoratus’ successors remained in Genoa. Genoa was then a suffragan Diocese of Milan. There, John the Good, is particularly remembered for being the first Bishop to return the Seat to Milan after more than 70 years absence.
John the Good was born in the Diocese of Genoa in the village of Recco (also the nearby town of Camogli claims the birth of John). It is not exactly known when he became Bishop of Milan but it is believed that his election was in consequence of the 641 conquest of Genoa by the Lombard’s King Rothari. John was the Bishop who returned the Seat and See of the Diocese to Milan.
There are two main sources for John’s life – the Catalogue of the Bishops of Milan (dated about the 10th Century) and a poem in his honour which can be dated from the 11th to the 13th Century. According to this Poem/Vita, John was distinguished for his generosity and charity, from which he was given the sobriquet “the Good.”
In 649, John was invited to participate to the Lateran Council but he arrived in Rome when the Council had already ended. He, however, subscribed to all the Decrees issued by the Council.
According to the Vita, he accomplished many miracles and moved some of the Relics of Saint Syrus of Genoa to Desio. He died in c 669 leaving all his properties, including estates in Genoa, to the Church of Milan.
John’s body was initially buried in the little Church of Saint Michael in Milan and the first survey on his Relics was made by Archbishop Aribert (1018–1045). On 24 May 1582, shortly before the demolition of the Church of St Michael, Cardinal Saint Charles Borromeo translated John’s body to the south transept of the Cathedral of Milan, where it is still venerated. Our Saint John the Good, was a tall man, his body measures 1.90 metres (6 ft 3 in) in height.
John died on 2 January according to the catalogue, or on 10 January according to the Poem Vita. The latter date became his Feast day. Today, his Feast is celebrated on 2 January, or on 10 January where he is still listed for this date in the Roman Martyrology (or 15 January in the Cathedral of Milan and together with all the Saint Bishops of Milan on 25 September).