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Photius the Great

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Our father among the [[saint]]s '''Photius the Great''' (also ''Photios'', in Greek ''Φωτιoς''), [[Patriarch]] of Constantinople, is considered one of the greatest patriarchs of Constantinople. His [[feast day]] is celebrated on [[February 6]].
St. Photius was condemned as patriarch by the [[Robber Council of 869-870]], but the [[Eighth Ecumenical Council]] (879-880) affirmed his restoration to his [[see]]. Although he was accused of causing the [[Filioque#The "Photian" Schism|"Photian" Schism]], he was recognized as a major peace-maker of that time. He reconciled with Patriarch [[Ignatius I of Constantinople|Ignatius]], who named him as his successor (for a second time) upon Ignatius' death in 877.
The parents of Photios were wealthy and pious Christians. His fater father was attached to the imperial court with the office of "Guardian of the Emperor and the Palace." The They belonged to the arty party which venerate icons [[icon]]s and the current Emperor was an [[iconcoclast ]] against the use of icons in the [[church]]. They were exiled when Photios was seven, disposed of their wealth and eventually martyred[[martyr]]ed. Photios' brother was the Patriarchs [[Patriarch]]s [[Patriarch Tarasius of Constantinople|Tarasios]] and related to [[Patriarch John VII of Constantinople|John VII Grammatikos]]. He was known as one who was inclined to the quiet,prayerful and [[monasticism|monastic ]] life. Byzantine writers report that Emperor [[Leo VI the Wise|Leo VI]] once angrily called Photios "[[Khazar]]-faced", but whether this was a generic insult or a reference to his ethnicity is unclear.
As soon as he had completed his own education, Photios began to teach [[grammar]], [[rhetoric]], [[divinity]] and [[philosophy]]. The way to public life was probably opened for him by (according to one account) the marriage of his brother Sergios to the Irene, a sister of the Empress [[Theodora (9th century)|Theodora]], who upon the death of her husband [[Theophilos, Byzantine Emperor|Theophilos]] in [[842]], had assumed the regency of the empire. Photios became a captain of the guard and subsequently chief imperial secretary (''prōtasēkrētis''). In 855, at thirty-five years of age, Photios was recognized for his political skills and made the ambassador to the Persian caliph in Bagdad with the charge to negotiate an end to the Christian persecution in the Moslem territories.
The dissension between the patriarch [[Patriarch Ignatios of Constantinople|Ignatios]] and the Caesar Bardas, the uncle of the youthful Emperor [[Michael III]], concerning Bardas' illicit relationship with his daughter-in-law and other questionalble moral pracitces, brought promotion to Photios. Ignatios was arrested and exiled to the island or Terebinthos in 858 where he submitted his resignation. Photios, a layperson, was inducted into the priesthood [[priest]]hood and made a [[bishop ]] within six days, and installed as patriarch. He resisted this appointment as he wished to for a life of contemplation. He was the most distinguished scholar at that time and was seen ubove above suspicion , being strongly opposed to the iconoclast party since his parents had died in opposition to that cause.
Several months aver after his exile, a few ofsupporter of supporter of Ignatios came together in the Chruch of Saint Irene and plotted to restore Igantios to the paatriarchatepatriarchate. They nmade made an appeal to Pope Nicholas discrediting the appointment of Phtios. This was signed by only six metropolitans and fifteen bishops. There were several monks [[monk]]s in this cmp camp that set out for Rome even thoug though Ignatios had volutarily resigned.They were recieved by pope Pope Nicholas eager to assert his power over the Eastern church. [[Pope Nicholas I]] had been successful in bringing the Western church under his absolute control and he now sought to bring the Eastern chruch under the same control.
Photios convened a council in the Church of the Holy Apostles in 859. The intent was to stop the controversy about his appointment. This council found that Ignatios had not been elected by a [[synod ]] and therefore his election to the patriarchate was illegal. He had been appointed by empress Empress Theodora. Unfortunately the Caesar Barda was vengeful against the opposition and imposed an exile on Ignatios to the island of Mytiline and persecuted some of his folowers. Photios strongly objected to this action.
N\Pope Nicholas felt that the appointment needed the consent of Rome and objected to the fact that Photiuos was a layperson even thoughthere though there was precedence for this in both the western Western and Eastern church. He also demanded that the Byzantines give back to rome Rome the territory of Clalbria Calbria and Sicily.
In 861 , with approval of Photios, Emperor Michael convened a general council in the Church of the Holy Apostles known as the First-Second Synod. The Pope was nvited invited and he was glad to send his delgates. He sent them with the instruction to investigagte the election of Photios in relation to the canons and and to demand that Illyricum and south Italy be given to Rome. Tis This synod ratified the actions of the seventh Ecumenical Council condemning Iconoclasm. Also Photios was affired affirmed as the lawful and canonical patriarch. The western delgation accepted the legality of Photios appointment. Ignatios appeared before the synod and was deposed.
When the delgates returned to Rome and found thanicholas that Nicholas found that his demands for territorial rights were not considered he became angry and excommunicated his delegates. He convened a council in Rome in 863 after which he deposed and excommunicated Photios on the bais basis that his appointment was uncanonical. He chose to recognize Ignatios as the legitimate patriarch.
The conflict between Rome and Constantinople reaachd reached a cimaxclimax. Phtios was defending the autonomy of the Eastern church but also vital interests of the empire. He had the full support of emperor Emperor Michael III and sent a letter to the popo Pope demanding that he with draw withdraw his decision against Photios. In 867 , an ecumenical council was held with over one-thousand attendiing. This council excommunicated Nicholas, condemned the pope's claimes claims of primacy, his interference in Bulgaria, and the innovative addition of the filioque cluse clause to the creed. The letters of both Nicholas and Photios were read at this council. he The situation was additionally complicated by the question of [[Papacy|papal]] authority over the entire Church and by disputed jurisdiction over newly-converted [[Bulgaria]]. It pronounced that the Latin interference in the affairs of the ByzantineChurch Byzantine Church was unlawful. The German Emperor Louis II was asked to intervene and depose pope Pope Nicholas , but he died that same year.
There were two Emperors in the East at the time Michaal II and Basil I. Michael plotted to kill Basil but Basil found out about the plot and murdered Michael. Photios refused to accdept accept the murder of Basil and refused him cCommunion communion on a great feat day. This angered Basil so he held him imprisone in prison in a Monasterymonastery. He then reinstates reinstated Ignatios in 867.
This state of affairs changed with the murder of Photios' patron [[Bardas]] in 866 and of the emperor Michael in 867, by his colleague [[Basil I the Macedonian|Basil the Macedonian]], who now usurped the throne. Photios was deposed as [[patriarch]], not so much because he was a protegé 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]]. During his second patriarchate, Ignatios followed a policy not very different from that of Photios. This perhaps helped improve relations between the two, and in c. 876 Photios was suddenly recalled to Constantinople and entrusted with the education of the emperor's children ad and became an advisor to Ignatios. On the death of Ignatios in October 877, Photios, after the requisite show of reluctance, and being recommended by Ignatios prior to his death, was restored to the patriarchal throne.
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 demanded apology to the Pope, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction over [[Bulgaria]], and the introduction of the [[filioque clause]] into the [[Nicene creed|creed]]. 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]], the papacy was unable to enforce its claims.
During the altercations between Basil I and his heir [[Leo VI the Wise|Leo VI]], Photios took the side of the emperor. Consequently, when Basil died in 886 and Leo became senior emperor, Photios was dismissed and banished, although he had been Leo's tutor. Photios' was sent into exile to the [[monastery ]] of Bordi in [[Armenia]]. From this time Photios disappears from history. No letters of this period of his life are extant. The precise date of his death is not known, but it is said to have occurred on [[February 6]], [[893]].
Photios was long the standard-bearer of the Church in its disagreements with the pope Pope of Rome. All agree on the virtue of his personal life and his remarkable talents, even genius, and the wide range of his intellectual aptitudes. Pope Nicholas himself referred to his "great virtues and universal knowledge."

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