Anthimus III of Constantinople
His All Holiness Anthimus III was the Patriarch of Constantinople from 1822 to 1824. Serving during the Greek War of Independence, he was deposed through the efforts of his enemies in the patriarchal Holy Synod.
Little of his early life is known. Anthimus was born on the island of Naxos, the largest of the islands of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. In 1789, he was a deacon within the Church of Constantinople during the patriarchate of Neophytus VII. In 1791, he was appointed Megas Archidiakonos with the honorific office of portaris. In April 1797, he became protosyngellos.
In May 1797, Anthimus was elected metropolitan of Smyrna, succeeding Gregory, who had been elected Patriarch of Constantinople. Anthimus arrived in Smyrna as metropolitan on June 11, 1797. During the following years, Metr. Anthimus pursued a program of renovating many of the churches in the metropolis. This work included repair of the Church of St. Fotini, that had been severely damaged during the revolt that came to be known as “Rempelio”. He also supervised the construction, in 1799, of the Church of Ss. Constantine and Helen in Bunarbaşı, the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul in Koukloutzas in 1801, the Church of St. Theodore Stratelates in Agria of Old Phocaea in 1802, and of the Church of St. John the Theologian in the Apano Machalas quarter in 1804.
In addition to renovating the churches, Metr. Anthimus was active in the improvement of the schools for the Greek community, including rehabilitating the Greek School of Apano Mahalas and the Philological Gymnasium. However, in these efforts he was frequently criticized by the scholar Konstantinos Oikonomos.
His relationship with the local Ottoman authorities was hampered by the metropolitan's friendship with Konstantinos Georgiou Chantzeris, the ruler of Wallachia, who was beheaded during February 1799. To stop the harassment, Metr. Anthimus contributed considerable sums of money to the powerful political circles of Constantinople. These payment not only stopped the attacks, but also obtained the issuance of the ‘commandments’ of sultan Selim III concerning the protection of the churches of Smyrna.
Metr. Anthimus was arrested on March 31, 1821) after the Greek War of Independence broke out. He was moved to Constantinople, where he was imprisoned for seven months. In October 1821, the Holy Synod of the patriarchate elected him metropolitan of Chalcedon. Then, in July 1822, he was elected to the patriarchal throne, succeeding the late Eugenius II.
With the Greek War of Independence on-going, the patriarchate of Anthimus proved full of difficulties. Patr. Anthimos was able to preserve the autonomy of the Church of Cyprus and its privileges at a time of executions by the Ottomans of hierarchs and notables on the island and the opposition of some members of the synod who pushed for the abolishment of the Cyprian Archbishopric. Those within the synod that opposed him began to unite, especially after he refused to allow English Protestant missionaries to publish a translation of the Holy Scripture in the “vulgar language”, using the patriarchal printing press, a request that was supported by certain members of the higher clergy, such as Ilarion of Tirnovo, Apparently, unified by this position, his opposition accused him of fomenting a Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire by using Patr. Anthimus’ decision to accept from the leader of the Serbian Uprising, Miloš Obrenović, the payment of a debt owed by the two Serbian metropolises of Belgrade and Užice to the ecumenical patriarchate. Patr. Anthimus was deposed in July 1824.
After his disposition, Anthimus initially sought refuge at Skoutari, but then was exiled to Caesarea (Kaisareia) of Cappadocia. There, he was confined in the Monastery of St. John Prodromos. In December 1825, he received permission to live in Smyrna, where he occupied an apartment in the Apano Machalas quarter. In 1831 and 1833 he served as locum tenens of the metropolitan see of Smyrna. He finally died in August 1842 in the hospital of the Greek Orthodox community, known as the Greek Hospital, having bequeathed his entire estate to the churches and the city’s charitable institutions. Metr. Anthimus (Koutalianos) of Ephesus, the future Patriarch Anthimus VI, officiated at his funeral. He was buried in the Church of St. John the Theologian.
Anthimus III of Constantinople
|Metropolitan of Smyrna
|Metropolitan of Chalcedon
|Patriarch of Constantinople