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Photios the Great


Subject Religion » Christianity

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631232032.2001.x


Photios I, patriarch of Constantinople 858–67 and 877–86. His uncle Patriarch Tarasios (784–806), a career administrator in the period of imperial iconoclasm , was made patriarch as a capable ally by the iconophile Empress Irene (780–90 and 792–802), and convened the Second Council of Nicea that condemned iconoclasm as a heresy. Like Tarasios, Photios pursued a secular career and was a layman when elected patriarch. He replaced Ignatios the New (847–58 and 867–77), son of Michael I Rhangabe (811–13), who was castrated and made a monk on his father's deposition. Ignatios, an austere monk, lost favour and was brought to resign. With the support of Michael III (842–67), Photios was elected to replace him. Ignatios' supporters sought the aid of Pope Nicolas I (858–67), a powerful character, convinced he was God's vicegerent on earth. Nicolas hesitated, then declined to accept Photios as legitimate patriarch and sent legates to investigate the matter, but rejected their report in Photios' favour, and in 863 declared Photios deposed and excommunicated. The emperor's protest at this won him a stern papal rebuke and a disquisition on the authority of the Roman see. Photios, also provoked by anti-Byzantine papal action in bulgaria , convened a synod in constantinople which in 867 excommunicated Nicholas, declaring him deposed. Basil I (867–86), co-emperor (since 866) and murderer ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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