Photios I of Constantinople

Photios I (Greek: Φώτιος Phōtios), (c. 810/820 – 6 February 893), a[›] also spelled Photius[2] (/ˈfoʊʃəs/) or Fotios, was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 858 to 867 and from 877 to 886;[3] He is recognized in the Eastern Orthodox Church as Saint Photios the Great.

Photios is widely regarded as the most powerful and influential church leader of Constantinople subsequent to John Chrysostom's archbishopric around the turn of the fifth century. He is also viewed as the most important intellectual of his time – "the leading light of the ninth-century renaissance".[4] He was a central figure in both the conversion of the Slavs to Christianity and the Photian schism,[5] and is considered "[t]he great systematic compiler of the Eastern Church, who occupies a similar position to that of Gratian in the West," and whose "collection in two parts...formed and still forms the classic source of ancient Church Law for the Greek Church."[2]

Photios was a well-educated man from a noble Constantinopolitan family. Photius's great uncle was a previous Patriarch of Constantinople, Saint Tarasius.[6] He intended to be a monk, but chose to be a scholar and statesman instead. In 858, Emperor Michael III (r. 842–867) decided to confine Patriarch Ignatius in order to force him into resignation, and Photios, still a layman, was appointed to replace him.[7] Amid power struggles between the pope and the Byzantine emperor, Ignatius was reinstated. Photios resumed the position when Ignatius died (877), by order of the Byzantine emperor.[7] The new pope, John VIII, approved Photios's reinstatement.[8] Catholics regard as legitimate a Fourth Council of Constantinople (Roman Catholic) anathematizing Photios,[7] while Eastern Orthodox regard as legitimate a subsequent Fourth Council of Constantinople (Eastern Orthodox), reversing the former.[7] The contested councils mark the end of unity represented by the first seven Ecumenical Councils.

Studies show that Photios was venerated as a saint as early as the 9th century, and by the Roman Church as late as the 12th century.[9] Nonetheless, Photios was formally canonized by the Orthodox Church in 1847.

Saint Photios the Great
Патриарх фотий
Icon of Saint Photios from an image of a fresco in Saint Sophia's Cathedral, Kiev
The Great, Confessor of the Faith, and Equal to the Apostles[1]
Bornc. 810
Diedc. 893
Bordi, Armenia
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Church
Canonized1847, Constantinople by Anthimus VI of Constantinople
FeastFebruary 6
Photios I of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Installed858 – 867
Term ended877 – 886
Personal details
DenominationChalcedonian Christianity


Secular life

Most of the primary sources treating Photios's life are written by persons hostile to him. Modern scholars are thus cautious when assessing the accuracy of the information these sources provide.b[›] Little is known of Photios's origin and early years. It is known that he was born into a notable family and that his uncle Saint Tarasius had been the Patriarch of Constantinople from 784–806 under both Empress Irene (r. 797–802) and Emperor Nikephoros I (r. 802–811).[10] During the second Iconoclasm, which began in 814, his family suffered persecution since his father, Sergios, was a prominent iconophile. Sergios's family returned to favor only after the restoration of the icons in 842.[11] Certain scholars assert that Photios was, at least in part, of Armenian descentc[›] while other scholars merely refer to him as a "Greek Byzantine".[12] Byzantine writers also report that Emperor Michael III (r. 842–867) once angrily called Photios "Khazar-faced", but whether this was a generic insult or a reference to his ethnicity is unclear.[13]

Although Photios had an excellent education, we have no information about how he received this education. The famous library he possessed attests to his enormous erudition (theology, history, grammar, philosophy, law, the natural sciences, and medicine).[14] Most scholars believe that he never taught at Magnaura or at any other university;[15] Vasileios N. Tatakes asserts that, even while he was patriarch, Photios taught "young students passionately eager for knowledge" at his home, which "was a center of learning".[14] He was a friend of the renowned Byzantine scholar and teacher Leo the Mathematician.[16]

Photios says that, when he was young, he had an inclination for the monastic life, but instead he started a secular career. The way to public life was probably opened for him by (according to one account) the marriage of his brother Sergios to Irene, a sister of the Empress Theodora, who upon the death of her husband Emperor Theophilos (r. 829–842) in 842, had assumed the regency of the Byzantine Empire. Photios became a captain of the guard (prōtospatharios) and subsequently chief imperial secretary (protasēkrētis). At an uncertain date, Photios participated in an embassy to the Abbasids of Baghdad.[17]

Patriarch of Constantinople

Photios's ecclesiastical career took off spectacularly after Caesar Bardas and his nephew, the youthful Emperor Michael, put an end to the administration of the regent Theodora and the logothete of the drome Theoktistos in 856. In 858, Bardas found himself opposed by the then Patriarch Ignatios, who refused to admit him into Hagia Sophia, since it was believed that he was having an affair with his widowed daughter-in-law. In response, Bardas and Michael engineered Ignatios's confinement and removal on the charge of treason, thus leaving the patriarchal throne empty. The throne was soon filled with a kinsman of Bardas, Photios himself, who was tonsured a monk on December 20, 858, and on the four following days was successively ordained lector, sub-deacon, deacon and priest, and then on Christmas Day, the patronal feast[18] of Constantinople's cathedral, Hagia Sophia, Photius was consecrated as patriarch.[19]

Facial Chronicle - b.13, p.414 - Photios baptising king of Bulgars
Photios baptising the king of Bulgaria and the Bulgarians.

The confinement and removal of Ignatios and the speedy promotion of Photios at first caused only internal controversy within the Church of Constantinople, and in 859 a local council was held, examining the issue and confirming the removal of Ignatios and election of Photios.[20] In the same time, partisans of Ignatios decided to appeal to the Church of Rome, thus initiating ecclesiastical controversy on an ecumenical scale as the Pope and the rest of the western bishops took up the cause of Ignatios. The latter's confinement and removal without a formal ecclesiastical trial meant that Photios's election was uncanonical, and eventually Pope Nicholas I sought to involve himself in determining the legitimacy of the succession. His legates were dispatched to Constantinople with instructions to investigate, but finding Photios well ensconced, they acquiesced in the confirmation of his election at a synod in 861.[21] On their return to Rome, they discovered that this was not at all what Nicholas had intended, and in 863 at a synod in Rome the pope deposed Photios, and reappointed Ignatius as the rightful patriarch, triggering a schism. Four years later, Photios was to respond on his own part by calling a Council and excommunicating the pope on grounds of heresy – over the question of the double procession of the Holy Spirit.[22] The situation was additionally complicated by the question of papal authority over the entire Church and by disputed jurisdiction over newly converted Bulgaria.[23]

This state of affairs changed with the murder of Photios's patron Bardas in 866 and of Emperor Michael III in 867, by his colleague Basil the Macedonian, who now usurped the throne. Photios was deposed as patriarch, not so much because he was a protégé of Bardas and Michael, but because Basil I was seeking an alliance with the Pope and the western emperor. Photios was removed from his office and banished about the end of September 867, and Ignatios was reinstated on November 23. Photios was condemned by the Council of 869–870, thus putting an end to the schism. During his second patriarchate, however, Ignatios followed a policy not very different from that of Photios.

Not long after his condemnation, Photios had reingratiated himself with Basil, and became tutor to the Byzantine emperor's children. From surviving letters of Photios written during his exile at the Skepi monastery, it appears that the ex-patriarch brought pressure to bear on the Byzantine emperor to restore him. Ignatios's biographer argues that Photios forged a document relating to the genealogy and rule of Basil's family, and had it placed in the imperial library where a friend of his was a librarian. According to this document, the Byzantine emperor's ancestors were not mere peasants as everyone believed but descendants of the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia.[24] True or not, this story does reveal Basil's dependence on Photios for literary and ideological matters. Following Photios's recall, Ignatios and the ex-patriarch met, and publicly expressed their reconciliation. When Ignatios died on October 23, 877, it was a matter of course that his old opponent replaced him on the patriarchal throne three days later. Shaun Tougher asserts that from this point on Basil no longer simply depended on Photios, but in fact he was dominated by him.[25]

Photios now obtained the formal recognition of the Christian world in a council convened at Constantinople in November 879. The legates of Pope John VIII attended, prepared to acknowledge Photios as legitimate patriarch, a concession for which the pope was much censured by Latin opinion. The patriarch stood firm on the main points contested between the Eastern and Western Churches: the demand of an apology to the Pope, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction over Bulgaria, and the addition of the filioque to the Nicene creed by the Western church. Eventually, Photios refused to apologize or accept the filioque, and the papal legates made do with his return of Bulgaria to Rome. This concession, however, was purely nominal, as Bulgaria's return to the Byzantine rite in 870 had already secured for it an autocephalous church. Without the consent of Boris I of Bulgaria (r. 852–889), the papacy was unable to enforce its claims.

During the altercations between Emperor Basil I and his heir Leo VI, Photios took the side of the Byzantine emperor. In 883, Basil accused Leo of conspiracy and confined the prince to the palace; he would have even have Leo blinded had he not been dissuaded by Photios and Stylianos Zaoutzes, the father of Zoe Zaoutzaina, Leo's mistress.[26] In 886, Basil discovered and punished a conspiracy by the domestic of the Hikanatoi John Kourkouas the Elder and many other officials. In this conspiracy, Leo was not implicated, but Photios was possibly one of the conspirators against Basil's authority.[27]

Basil died in 886 injured while hunting, according to the official story. Warren T. Treadgold believes that this time the evidence points to a plot on behalf of Leo VI, who became emperor, and deposed Photios, although the latter had been his tutor.[28] Photios was replaced by the Byzantine emperor's brother Stephen, and sent into exile to the monastery of Bordi in Armenia. It is confirmed from letters to and from Pope Stephen that Leo extracted a resignation from Photios. In 887, Photios and his protégé, Theodore Santabarenos, were put on trial for treason before a tribunal headed by senior officials, headed by Andrew the Scythian. Although the sources sympathetic to Photios give the impression that the trial ended without a conviction, the chronicle of Pseudo-Symeon clearly states that Photios was banished to the monastery of Gordon, where he later died. Latin sources confirm that he died in a state of complete excommunication by Pope John VIII. [29] Yet it appears that he did not remain reviled for the remainder of his life.[30]

Photios continued his career as a writer throughout his exile, and Leo probably rehabilitated his reputation within the next few years; in his Epitaphios on his brothers, a text probably written in 888, the Emperor presents Photios favorably, portraying him as the legitimate archbishop, and the instrument of ultimate unity, an image that jars with his attitude to the patriarch in the previous year.[31] Confirmation that Photios was rehabilitated comes upon his death: according to some chronicles, his body was permitted to be buried in Constantinople. In addition, according to the anti-Photian biographer of Ignatius, partisans of the ex-patriarch after his death endeavored to claim for him the "honor of sainthood". Furthermore, a leading member of Leo's court, Leo Choirosphaktes, wrote poems commemorating the memory of several prominent contemporary figures, such as Leo the Mathematician and the Patriarch Stephen, and he also wrote one on Photios.[32] Shaun Tougher notes, however, that "yet Photios's passing does seem rather muted for a great figure of Byzantine history [...] Leo [...] certainly did not allow him back into the sphere of politics, and it is surely his absence from this arena that accounts for his quiet passing."[33]

The Eastern Orthodox Church venerates Photios as a saint; his feast day is February 6.


Photios is one of the most famous figures not only of 9th-century Byzantium but of the entire history of the Byzantine Empire. One of the most learned men of his age, and revered – even by some of his opponents and detractors – as the most prolific theologian of his time, he has earned his fame due to his part in ecclesiastical conflicts, and also for his intellect and literary works.[34][35]

Analyzing his intellectual work, Tatakes regards Photios as "mind turned more to practice than to theory". He believes that, thanks to Photios, humanism was added to Orthodoxy as a basic element of the national consciousness of the medieval Byzantines, returning it to the place it had had in the late Roman (early Byzantine) period. Tatakes also argues that, having understood this national consciousness, Photios emerged as a defender of the Greek nation and its spiritual independence in his debates with the Western Church.[36] Adrian Fortescue regards him as "the most wonderful man of all the Middle Ages", and stresses that "had [he] not given his name to the great schism, he would always be remembered as the greatest scholar of his time".[37] Yet, Fortescue is equally adamant of his condemnation of Photios' involvement in the Schism: "And yet the other side of his character is no less evident. His insatiable ambition, his determination to obtain and keep the patriarchal see, led him to the extreme of dishonesty. His claim was worthless. That Ignatius was the rightful patriarch as long as he lived, and Photius an intruder, cannot be denied by any one who does not conceive the Church as merely the slave of a civil government. And to keep this place Photius descended to the lowest depth of deceit."[38]


The most important of the works of Photios is his renowned Bibliotheca or Myriobiblon, a collection of extracts and abridgements of 280 volumes of classical authors (usually cited as Codices), the originals of which are now to a great extent lost. The work is especially rich in extracts from historical writers.

Some older scholarship speculated that the Bibliotheca was in fact compiled in Baghdad at the time of Photius's embassy to the Abbasid court, since many of the mentioned works were rarely cited during the so-called Byzantine Dark Ages c. 630 – c. 800, and it was known that the Abbasids were interested in works of Greek science and philosophy.[39] However, specialists of this period of Byzantine history, such as Paul Lemerle, have shown that Photios could not have compiled his Bibliotheca in Baghdad because he clearly states in both his introduction and his postscript that when he learned of his appointment to the embassy, he sent his brother a summary of books that he read previously, "since the time I learned how to understand and evaluate literature" i.e. since his youth.[40] Moreover, the Abbasids were interested only in Greek science, philosophy and medicine; they did not have Greek history, rhetoric, or other literary works translated; nor did they have Christian patristic writers translated.[41] Yet the majority of works in Bibliotheca are by Christian patristic authors, and most of the secular texts in Bibliotheca are histories, grammars or literary works, usually rhetoric, rather than science, medicine or philosophy. This further indicates that the majority of the works cannot have been read while Photios was in the Abbasid empire.

To Photios, we are indebted for almost all we possess of Ctesias, Memnon of Heraclea, Conon, the lost books of Diodorus Siculus, and the lost writings of Arrian. Theology and ecclesiastical history are also very fully represented, but poetry and ancient philosophy are almost entirely ignored. It seems that he did not think it necessary to deal with those authors with whom every well-educated man would naturally be familiar. The literary criticisms, generally distinguished by keen and independent judgment, and the excerpts vary considerably in length. The numerous biographical notes are probably taken from the work of Hesychius of Miletus.

The Lexicon (Λέξεων Συναγωγή), published later than the Bibliotheca, was probably in the main the work of some of his pupils. It was intended as a book of reference to facilitate the reading of old classical and sacred authors, whose language and vocabulary were out of date. For a long time, the only manuscripts of the Lexicon were the Codex Galeanus, which passed into the library of Trinity College, Cambridge and Berolinensis graec. oct. 22, both of which were incomplete. But in 1959, Linos Politis of the University of Thessaloniki discovered a complete manuscript, codex Zavordensis 95, in the Zavorda Monastery (Greek: Ζάβορδα) in Grevena, Greece, where it still resides.[42]

His most important theological work is the Amphilochia, a collection of some 300 questions and answers on difficult points in Scripture, addressed to Amphilochius, archbishop of Cyzicus. Other similar works are his treatise in four books against the Manichaeans and Paulicians, and his controversy with the Latins on the Procession of the Holy Spirit. Photios also addressed a long letter of theological advice to the newly converted Boris I of Bulgaria. Numerous other Epistles also survive.

Photios is also the writer of two "mirrors of princes", addressed to Boris-Michael of Bulgaria (Epistula 1, ed. Terzaghi) and to Leo VI the Wise (Admonitory Chapters of Basil I).[43]

The chief contemporary authority for the life of Photios is his bitter enemy, Nicetas the Paphlagonian, the biographer of his rival Ignatios.

The first English translation, by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, of the "Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit" by Photios was published in 1983.[44] Another translation was published in 1987 with a preface by Archimandrite (now Archbishop) Chrysostomos of Etna.[45]

See also


^ a: The exact dates of Photios's birth and death are not known. Most sources list circa 810 and others circa 820 as his year of birth. He died some time between 890 and 895 (probably 891 or 893).[46]

^ b: The case of pseudo-Simeon's Chronicle is characteristic: the author argues that Photios was educated after an agreement he concluded with a Jewish magician who offered him knowledge and secular recognition, in case he renounced his faith.[47]

^ c: David Marshall Lang argues that "Photius [...] was only one of many Byzantine scholars of Armenian descent".[48] Peter Charanis notes that "John the Grammarian, Photius, Caesar Bardas and Leo the Philosopher seem to have been the prime movers. All four were, at least in part, of Armenian descent [...] as for Photius, the fact is that his mother Irene, was the sister of Arshavir, the Arshavir who had married Calomaria the sister of Bardas and the empress Theodora."[49] Nicholas Adontz stresses that "Arshavir, Photius' uncle, must not be confused with Arshavir, the brother of John the Grammarian".[50]

^ d: G. N. Wilson regards Leo the Mathematician as Photios's teacher, but Paul Lemerle notes that Leo was not one of the persons with whom Photios had a correspondence.[51]



  1. ^ "Photius the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople". Online Chapel. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b Fr. Justin Taylor, essay "Canon Law in the Age of the Fathers" (published in Jordan Hite, T.O.R., & Daniel J. Ward, O.S.B., "Readings, Cases, Materials in Canon Law: A Textbook for Ministerial Students, Revised Edition" [Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1990]), p. 61
  3. ^ White, Despina Stratoudaki. "The Life of Patriarch Photios". Patriarch Photios of Constantinople, His Life, Scholarly Contributions, and Correspondence, Together with a Translation of Fifty-two of His Letters. ISBN 978-0-91658626-3. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
  4. ^ Louth 2007, Chapter Seven: "Renaissance of Learning: East and West", p. 159; Mango 1980, p. 168.
  5. ^ Treadgold 1983, p. 1100
  6. ^ Jenkins 1987, Chapter Thirteen: "Ignatius, Photius, and Pope Nicholas I", p. 168.
  7. ^ a b c d Cross & Livingstone 2005, "Photius".
  8. ^ Durant 1972, p. 529.
  9. ^ И. Византийский. Святѣйшій Фотій, патріархъ Константинопольскій (The Most Holy Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople) // «Церковныя Вѣдомости, издаваемыя при Святѣйшемъ Правительствующемъ Сѵнодѣ» («Ecclesiastical leaflets of the Most Holy Governing Synod»). 29 January 1900, № 5, pages 193—201.
  10. ^ Photios. Epistola II, CII, 609; Tougher 1997, p. 68.
  11. ^ Tougher 1997, p. 68.
  12. ^ Gren 2002, p. 110: "Something of it, though, has been saved for posterity in the extracts made later by the Greek Byzantine patriarch Photios..."
  13. ^ Dunlop 1954, p. 194; Fortescue 2001, Chapter IV: "The Schism of Photius", pp. 146–147.
  14. ^ a b Tatakes & Moutafakis 2003, p. 102.
  15. ^ Mango 1980, pp. 168–169; Treadgold 1983, p. 1100.
  16. ^ Vlasto, A. P. (1970). The Entry of the Slavs into Christendom: An Introduction to the Medieval History of the Slavs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 33.
  17. ^ Plexidas 2007, "Introduction", p. 17; Shepard 2002, p. 235.
  18. ^ Janin, Raymond (1953). La Géographie Ecclésiastique de l'Empire Byzantin. 1. Part: Le Siège de Constantinople et le Patriarcat Oecuménique. 3rd Vol. : Les Églises et les Monastères. Paris: Institut Français d'Etudes Byzantines.
  19. ^ Tougher 1997, p. 69
  20. ^ Dvornik 1948, pp. 39-69.
  21. ^ Dvornik 1948, pp. 70-90.
  22. ^ Fortescue 2001, pp. 147–148; Louth 2007, p. 171; Tougher 1997, p. 69.
  23. ^ Chadwick 2003, Chapter 3: "Early Christian Diversity: The Quest for Coherence", p. 146.
  24. ^ Treadgold 1997, Chapter Fourteen: "External Gains, 842–912", p. 457.
  25. ^ Tougher 1997, pp. 70–71.
  26. ^ Treadgold 1997, p. 460.
  27. ^ Vlyssidou 1997, p. 33.
  28. ^ Treadgold 1997, p. 461.
  29. ^
  30. ^ Tougher 1997, pp. 73–76, 84.
  31. ^ Tougher 1997, pp. 85–86.
  32. ^ Tougher 1997, pp. 87–88.
  33. ^ Tougher 1997, p. 88.
  34. ^ Louth 2007, Chapter Seven: "Renaissance of Learning: East and West", p. 171.
  35. ^ Tougher 1997, p. 68.
  36. ^ Tatakes & Moutafakis 2003, p. 103.
  37. ^ Fortescue 2001, p. 138.
  38. ^
  39. ^ Jokisch 2007, pp. 365–386.
  40. ^ Jokisch 2007, pp. 365–386; Lemerle 1986, p. 40.
  41. ^ Lemerle 1986, pp. 26–27.
  42. ^ "The Lexicon of Photius" by Roger Pearse, January 15, 2011.
  43. ^ Paidas 2005, passim.
  44. ^ Photius (1983). On the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit. Studion Publishers. ISBN 0-943670-00-4.
  45. ^ Photius; Joseph P. Farrell (1987). The Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit. Holy Cross Orthodox Press. ISBN 0-916586-88-X.
  46. ^ Mango 1980, p. 169; Plexidas 2007, "Introduction", p. 15.
  47. ^ Symeon Metaphrastes (?). Chronicle, PG 109, 732 BC; Plexidas 2007, "Introduction", p. 15.
  48. ^ Lang 1988, p. 54.
  49. ^ Charanis 1963, pp. 27–28.
  50. ^ Adontz 1950, p. 66.
  51. ^ Lemerle 1971, p. 159; Plexidas 2007, "Introduction", p. 16.


External links

Titles of Chalcedonian Christianity
Preceded by
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by
Stephen I

Amyntianus (Ancient Greek: Ἀμυντιανός) was the author of a work on Alexander the Great, which was dedicated to the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, the style of which Photios I of Constantinople thought disparagingly of. He also wrote the life of Olympias, the mother of Alexander, and a few other biographies. The Scholiast on Pindar refers to a work of Amyntianus on elephants.

Andronicus (poet)

Andronicus (Ancient Greek: Ἀνδρόνικος) was a poet of ancient Greece.

Andronicus was a contemporary of the emperor Constantius II, around 360. The sophist rhetorician Libanius wrote that the sweetness of his poetry gained him the favor of all the towns (probably of Egypt) as far as the Ethiopians, but that the full development of his talents was checked by the death of his mother and the misfortune of his native town (which may have been Hermopolis).If Andronicus is the same as the Andronicus mentioned by Photios I of Constantinople as the author of dramas and various other poems, he was a native of Hermopolis in Egypt, of which town he was decurio. Themistius, who speaks of a young poet in Egypt as the author of a tragedy, epic poems, and dithyrambs, appears likewise to allude to this Andronicus. In 359, Andronicus, with several other persons in the east and in Egypt, incurred the suspicion of indulging in pagan practices. He was tried by Paulus Catena, whom the emperor had despatched for the purpose, but he was found innocent and acquitted.No fragments of Andronicus' works are extant, with the exception of an epigram in the Greek Anthology.

Aphthonius of Alexandria

Aphthonius (Ancient Greek: Ἀφθόνιος) of Alexandria is mentioned by church historian Philostorgius as a learned and eloquent bishop of the Manichaeans. He is mentioned as a disciple and commentator of the prophet Mani by Photios I of Constantinople and Peter of Sicily, and in the form of abjuring Manichaeism.

Philostorgius adds that the Arian theologian Aëtius of Antioch challenged Apthonius to a public debate, and traveled to Alexandria to engage in this. Aphthonius was defeated in the debate. Philostorgius goes on to say that Aetius won the argument so profoundly, and caused his opponent such shame, that Aphthonius fell ill immediately afterward, and died of grief seven days later.

Apollophanes of Athens

Apollophanes of Athens (Ancient Greek: Ἀπολλοφάνης ὁ Ἀθηναῖος) was a poet of the old Attic comedy. He appears to have been a contemporary of Strattis, and to have consequently lived about Olympiad 95.

Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church

The Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which has sometimes abbreviated its name as the B.A.O. Church or the BAOC, is a religious body in the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

Church of Crete

The Church of Crete (Greek: Εκκλησία της Κρήτης) is an Eastern Orthodox Church, comprising the island of Crete in Greece. The Church of Crete is semi-autonomous (self-governing) under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The current Archbishop of Crete is, since 30 August 2006, Irinaios Athanasiadis.

Comba (Lycia)

Comba or Komba (Ancient Greek: τὰ Κὀμβα) was a city in ancient Lycia.Comba lay inland, near Mount Cragus, and the cities Octapolis and Symbra.Its site is located near Gömbe in Asiatic Turkey.Comba appears as a bishopric, a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Myra at a relatively late stage: it is not mentioned in the Notitia Episcopatuum of Pseudo-Epiphanius, composed during the reign of Emperor Heraclius (c. 640), and its bishops appear only in the second half of the 7th century. The first is John, who participated in the Quinisext Council of 692. Bishop Constantine was at the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, while another Constantine was one of the fathers of the Council of Constantinople (879) that rehabilitated the patriarch Photios I of Constantinople.A Notitia Episcopatuum of the 12th century still reports the presence of this diocese, even if it is not certain that at that time it still existed; the diocese certainly disappeared with the Turkish conquest of the next century.No longer a residential bishopric, Comba is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.

Council of Constantinople (861)

The Council of Constantinople of 861, also known as Protodeutera, was a major Church Council, convened upon the initiative of Emperor Michael III of Byzantium and Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople, and attended by legates of Pope Nicholas I. The Council confirmed the deposition of former Patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople, and his replacement by Photios. Several dogmatic, ecclesiological and liturgical questions were also discussed, and seventeen canons were produced. Decisions of the Council were initially approved by papal legates, but their approval was later annulled by the Pope. In spite of that, the Council is considered as valid by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Council of Constantinople (867)

The Council of Constantinople of 867 was a major Church Council, convened by Emperor Michael III of Byzantium and Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople in order to address several ecclesiastical issues, including the question of Papal supremacy in the Church, and the use of Filioque clause in the Creed.

Diocese of Germensis in Galatia

The Diocese of Germa in Galatia or Germensis in Galatia is a suppressed see and now a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church. Its seat was at Germensis in Galatia (also known as Germocolonia or Germacolonia) in the province of Galatia in the civil diocese of Pontus (present day northern central Turkey). It formed part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and was a suffragan see of the Archdiocese of Pessinus. Only one bishop of the see is known, Eustacius, who is mentioned as attending the Fourth Council of Constantinople in 879 which rehabilitated patriarch Photios I of Constantinople.

Eutherios of Tyana

Eutherius of Tyana, metropolitan bishop of Tyana (site near Niğde, Turkey) in Cappadocia II, features in the context of the 431 Council of Ephesus, where he belonged to the eastern delegation led by John of Antioch. Dismayed by the deposition of his fellow exponent of the School of Antioch, Nestorius, precipitated by Cyril of Alexandria's vigorous objection to the Christotokos (instead of Theotokos) expression which Nestorius used, Eutherius writes a lively text of protest, which in turn brings about his own deposition and exile, initially at Scythopolis in Palestine. John of Antioch, in the Act of Union of 433, reconciled with Cyril and pursued a policy of abandoning some of the positions he had once held and repression of those who continued to express them. His successor and nephew, Domnus II of Antioch, however, advocated conciliation, and Eutherius was able to escape from Scythopolis and take refuge with Irenaeus, the new bishop of Tyre (who as a senior civil servant (comes) had been involved at a key level in the organisation of the Ephesus council and as go-between for the delegations and Emperor Theodosius II, and whose pro-oriental sympathies had led to a term of exile in Petra).

The text of the Protest appears to have survived largely through attribution to Athanasius of Alexandria. In the way of attestation Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople in his Bibliotheca is closer to the mark in ascribing it to Theodoret. Euthymios Zigabenos cites without naming an author, but Severus of Antioch in his Contra Impium Grammaticum quotes from with attribution to Eutherius of Tyana. (Both the latter authors are referring to chapter 20, which together with 21 may well constitute a slightly later addition by Eutherius to his original text).

The Protest (Antilogia) against those who advocate a suffering God (Theopaschism) is written in a clear and vigorous style using various rhetorical devices (formulae, punch-lines, diatribe, metaphor - e.g.,in chapter 20, reaching a safe harbour after the risk of piracy) and attempting to expose the absurdity of his Alexandrian school opponents' arguments. He uses the terminology derived from Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorios, e.g. sunapheia. Minor incoherences ( referencing scriptural quotations) do not essentially compromise the high quality of his expression. Coherence, or rather the incoherence of the opposition's reasoning, is a recurring theme. Such qualities ensure that this work is no ordinary pamphlet.

Eutherius' attitude to the Jews is interesting: like John Chrysostom, he rejects Judaism and he reproaches Jews for failing to discern the signs of divinity performed by Christ, but this very ignorance clears them of the charge of deicide, and in any case, he states that Christ has pronounced forgiveness.

Eutherius' other surviving work consists of five letters preserved in Latin in the Collectio Casinensis (Letters 162, 163, 204, 205, 291), 4 addressed to fellow Antiochene theologian bishops, John of Antioch, Helladius of Tarsus, Alexander of Hierapolis together with Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Alexander of Hierapolis individually, and one to Pope Sixtus III in Rome.

Hippolytus of Rome

Hippolytus (c. 170–235 AD) was one of the most important second-third century Christian theologians, whose provenance, identity and corpus remain elusive to scholars and historians. Suggested communities include Palestine, Egypt, Anatolia, Rome and regions of the mideast. The best historians of literature in the ancient church, including Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome, openly confess they cannot name where Hippolytus the biblical commentator and theologian served in leadership. They had read his works but did not possess evidence of his community. Photios I of Constantinople describes him in his Bibliotheca (cod. 121) as a disciple of Irenaeus, who was said to be a disciple of Polycarp, and from the context of this passage it is supposed that he suggested that Hippolytus so styled himself. This assertion is doubtful. One older theory asserts he came into conflict with the popes of his time and seems to have headed a schismatic group as a rival to the Bishop of Rome, thus becoming an Antipope. In this view, he opposed the Roman Popes who softened the penitential system to accommodate the large number of new pagan converts. However, he was reconciled to the Church before he died as a martyr.Starting in the fourth century, various legends arose about him, identifying him as a priest of the Novatianist schism or as a soldier converted by Saint Lawrence. He has also been confused with another martyr of the same name. Pope Pius IV identifies him as "Saint Hippolytus, Bishop of Pontus" who was martyred in the reign of Severus Alexander through his inscription on a statue found at the Church of Saint Lawrence in Rome and kept at the Vatican as photographed and published in Brunsen.

Leucius Charinus

Leucius, called Leucius Charinus by Photios I of Constantinople in the ninth century, is the name applied to a cycle of what M. R. James termed "Apostolic romances" that seems to have had wide currency long before a selection was read aloud at the Second Council of Nicaea (787) and rejected. Leucius is not among the early heretical teachers mentioned by name in Irenaeus' Adversus haereses (ca. 180). Most of the works seem to have come into existence in the mid-third century.The fullest account of Leucius is that given by Photius (Codex 114), who describes a book, called The Circuits of the Apostles, which contained the Acts of Peter, John, Andrew, Thomas, and Paul, that was purported to have been written by "Leucius Charinus" which he judged full of folly, self-contradiction, falsehood, and impiety (Wace); Photius is the only source to give his second name, "Charinus". Epiphanius (Haer. 51.427) made Leucius a disciple of John who joined his master in opposing the Ebionites, a characterization that appears unlikely, since other patristic writers agree that the cycle attributed to him was docetic, which denies the humanity of Jesus as Christ. Augustine knew the cycle, which he attributed to "Leutius", which his adversary Faustus of Mileve thought had been wrongly excluded from the New Testament canon by the Catholics. Gregory of Tours found a copy of the Acts of Andrew from the cycle and made an epitome of it, omitting the "tiresome" elaborations of detail he found in it.The "Leucian Acts" are as follows:

The Acts of John

The Acts of Peter

The Acts of Paul

The Acts of Andrew

The Acts of ThomasThe Leucian Acts were most likely redacted at a later date to express a more orthodox view. Of the five, the Acts of John and Thomas have the most remaining Gnostic content.


Nepsis (or nipsis; Greek: νῆψις) is an important idea in Orthodox Christian theology, considered the hallmark of sanctity. It is a state of watchfulness or sobriety acquired following a long period of catharsis.

Nonnosus (historian)

Nonnosus (Greek: Νόννοσος, romanized: Nónnosos) was a Byzantine ambassador under Justinian I. In around 530, he led a mission to the Red Sea area, visiting Axum, Ḥimyar, and the Arabs. His account of his visit to Axum provides a first-hand account of meeting the Axumite Negus at his royal court. Regarding his visit to the court of Axum, Nonnosus writes that he entered Ethiopia through the port city of Adulis and journeyed their overland to Axum. Nonnosus writes that along the way he saw a herd of 5000 elephants in the vicinity of Aua, which lies between Adulis and Axum. Upon meeting the Negus Kaleb of Axum, Nonnosus states that he had to kiss the ring of the regent and prostrate himself before him.

An abbreviated account of the meeting reads: "He was largely nude, wearing only a loincloth together with a pearl-encrusted shawl over his shoulders and belly, bracelets on his arms, a golden turban with four tassels on each side, and a golden torque on his neck. In the company of his courtiers he stood astride a spectacular gold-leafed palanquin mounted on the circular saddles of four elephants that been yoked together"

Upon his return he wrote a history of his embassy, which has survived only in a condensed version form attributed to Photios I of Constantinople. This claims that his father, Abraham, had been an ambassador to the Arabs and that his uncle, also Nonnosus, was sent on an embassy by Anastasius I.

Patriarch Photios

Patriarch Photios/Photius may refer to:

Photios I of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch in 858–867 and 877–886

Patriarch Photius of Alexandria, Greek Patriarch of Alexandria in 1900–1925

Photios II of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch in 1929–1935

Photios (disambiguation)

Photios (Φώτιος) is a Greek name, Latinized as Photius.

It commonly refers to Saint Photios I of Constantinople (c. 810–893), an Eastern Orthodox scholar and Patriarch of Constantinople.

Photios may also refer to:

Saint Photius the Martyr, a Christian martyr under Emperor Diocletian (died 305)

Photios (Emirate of Crete) (fl. 870s), Byzantine renegade and admiral of the Emirate of Crete

Photius, Metropolitan of Moscow (died 1431)

Photios II of Constantinople (1874–1935)

Patriarch Photius of Alexandria (died 1925)

Photios of Korytsa (1862–1906), Greek Orthodox metropolitan bishop of Korçë

Photios Kontoglou (1895–1965), Greek writer and iconographerThe modern diminutive variant Fotis (Φώτης) may refer to:

Fotis Kafatos (born 1940), Greek biologist

Fotis Kouvelis (born 1948), Greek lawyer and politician

Fotis Vasilopoulos (born 1986), Greek basketball player

Sergius II of Constantinople

Sergius II the Studite (Greek: Σέργιος Β′ ὁ Στουδίτης) (? – July 1019, Constantinople) was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from July 1001 to 1019. He was a successor to the Patriarch Sisinnius II of Constantinople. He came from a prominent family related to the Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople. He reached the rank of abbot of the Monastery of Manuel (or, according to others, of the Stoudios Monastery).

According to the later legend, Sergius II was in the conflict with the Pope Sergius IV.His successor was Eustathius of Constantinople.

Theognostus of Alexandria

Theognostus (Greek: Θεόγνωστος; c. 210 – c. 270) was a late 3rd century Alexandrian theologian. He is known from quotes by Athanasius and Photios I of Constantinople. Philip of Side says that he presided over the school of Alexandria after Pierius (AD 265). Although a disciple of Origen of Alexandria no reference of him can be found by Eusebius or Jerome. The main textual point of reference is derived from Athanasius.

Bishops of Heraclea/Byzantium
Roman period (38-330 AD)
Archbishops of Constantinople
Roman period (330–451 AD)
Patriarchs of Constantinople
Byzantine period
(451–1453 AD)
Patriarchs of Constantinople
Ottoman period
(1453–1923 AD)
Patriarchs of Constantinople
Turkish period (since 1923 AD)

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