Figlio del doge Angelo e già co-reggente.

Il dogado di Giovanni fu contrassegnato da lotte intestine, ma allietato dalla costruzione della Cappella Ducale, destinata a conservare le spoglie di san Marco, esaudendo così le estreme volontà del fratello Giustiniano.

Il primo dei problemi che Giovanni Partecipazio dovette affrontare fu l’improvviso ritorno del deposto doge Obelerio Antenoreo (804-810), predecessore di suo padre Angelo Partecipazio (810-827), dopo oltre 20 anni di assenza ed esilio a Costantinopoli. Obelerio sbarcò a Vigilia, un’isola vicino a Malamocco poi scomparsa, raccogliendo un pugno di uomini a lui fedeli e reclamando per sé il dogado, col sostegno, pare, del nuovo re d’Italia Lotario. In breve sia Vigilia che Malamocco si schierarono con lui, ma Giovanni reagì con decisione: incendiò e distrusse i due insediamenti, catturò e fece impiccare Obelerio e poi ne mostrò la testa ai rivoltosi come monito.

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