On 24 February 861 Pope Nicholas I excommunicated and deposed one of Italy's most powerful prelates, John VIII, archbishop of Ravenna. This papal action, prompted by a number of transgressions on the archbishop's part, was taken with the consent of a council of bishops at Rome. John immediately turned for aid to Louis II, king of Italy and emperor in the West. A delegation from Louis, however, failed to deter Nicholas who insisted that John come to Rome for adjudication. Moreover, the pope journeyed to Ravenna at the invitation of its citizens, and there personally rectified the situation which John's abuses had created. As Nicholas advanced, John retreated to seek Louis's intercession at Pavia again, but this time his reception was less cordial. The Pavians, led by their bishop, shunned the excommunicate and his retinue and Louis, who would not even grant John an audience, advised him through an intermediary to “humble himself to such a pontiff to whom we and the entire Church bow.” When a second delegation, gained only by John's repeated pleas, was again unsuccessful in bargaining with the pope, the archbishop had no choice but to submit. At the Roman synod which met from 16 to 18 November 861, John acknowledged the charges against him and was restored to his see on conditions laid down by the synod. According to the Vita Nicolai, the proceedings concluded with a standing ovation for the pope from the bishops who proclaimed three times:
The correct judgement of the supreme pontiff, the just ordering of the pastor of the whole Church, the generous settlement of the disciple of Christ is pleasing to all. We are all of one voice, one mind, one judgement.