Macedonius II of Constantinople

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Macedonius II of Constantinople was the Patriarch of Constantinople of the Church of Constantinople from 496 to 511. His tenure as patriarch was spent upholding the Fourth Ecumenical Council from the efforts of emperor Anastasius to have it repudiated.


Little is known of the early life of Patriarch Macedonius. He came to be patriarch when emperor Anastasius forced the deposition of Patr. Euphemius for the alleged treason by revealing Anastasius' war strategy to his enemies. A synod of bishops, obedient to the emperor, elected Macedonius patriarch after excommunicating and deposing Euphemius.

As Macedonius met with Euphemius before his journey into exile, Macedonius had his deacon remove his newly-given omophor and dress him as a simple priest, "not daring to wear" his insignia before their canonical owner. During their last conversation together, Macedonius gave Euphemius the proceeds of a loan he had raised for Euphemius' expenses into exile in Asia Minor. A year or so later, Patr. Macedonius convened a council during which he confirmed in writing the acts of the Fourth Ecumenical Council and continued to resist the efforts of emperor Anastasius to have him declare against the Council at Chalcedon. Anastasius' efforts went beyond flattery and to the point of the hiring of an assassin, named Eucolus, who the patriarch fended off. Yet, the Patriarch ordered a fixed amount of provisions to be given monthly to the criminal.

Renewing his efforts in 511, the emperor continued his campaign to nullify Chalcedon. However, Macedonius would do nothing without the convening of an ecumenical council presided over by the bishop of Rome. Annoyed at this response and irritated because Macedonius would not release him from the commitment he had made at his coronation to maintain the faith of the church and the authority of the Council of Chalcedon, Anastasius sought to drive Macedonius from his see. To do this, Anastasius sent monks and clergy, as well as magistrates of the city, to harass him with public outrage and insult. To this, the citizens raised such a tumult that Anastasius had to shut himself up in his palace and to have ships prepared in case flight were to be necessary. Macedonius, when he responded to a plea by Anastasius to come and speak with him, reproached the emperor about the sufferings his persecutions caused the church. While accepting this, Anastasius again made a third attempt to have Macedonius change his beliefs.

Anastasius even had Xenaias, a Eutychian bishop, commit a campaign of lies against the patriarch. Xenaias demanded of Macedonius a declaration of his faith in writing, but in a memorandum to the emperor Macedonius insisted that he knew no other faith than that of the Fathers of Nicea and Constantinople, noting that he had anathematized Nestorius and Eutyches and all those who admitted two Sons or two Christs, or who divided the two natures. Seeing the failure of his attempt, Xenaias then found two individuals who accused Macedonius of an abominable crime while also avowing themselves as his accomplices. Then, Macedonius was charged with Nestorianism and also with having falsified a passage in an epistle of Paul, in support of the Nestorians.

In a final attempt in 511 to change Macedonius' beliefs emperor Anastasius commanded the Patriarch to send him the authentic copy of the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon bearing the signatures of the bishops. Macedonius refused and hid the document under the altar of the great church. Enraged, Anastasius then had Macedonius carried off by night to Chalcedon and then on to Eucaita in Pontus, to the place his predecessor, Euphemius, had been exiled.

In 515, Pope Homisdas attempted to restore Macedonius, whom he considered was unjustly deposed. It was stipulated in the treaty of peace between the rebel Vitalian, a relative of Macedonius, and emperor Anastasius that the patriarch and all the deposed bishops should be restored to their sees. However, Anastasius never kept his promises. Macedonius died c. 517 in exile at Gangra.

Succession box:
Macedonius II of Constantinople
Preceded by:
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
Timothy I
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