Joasaph II of Constantinople

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Joasaph II of Constantinople was the Patriarch of Constantinople from 1555 to 1565. He rebuffed feelers for intercommunion from the Lutherans.


Little is known of the early life of Joasaph. He was born in Thrace and was educated in Ioannina. He continued his education in Nafplio in northern Peloponnese, learning Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. He joined the Orthodox clergy and, in 1535, was consecrated bishop of Adrianople by Patriarch Jeremias I. After the death of the Patriarch Dionysius II, he was elected Patriarch of Constantinople in August 1555, having gained a reduction of the appointment fee (peshtesh) due to the Ottoman Sultan to one thousand Écus.

Joasaph was successful in establishing number of reforms in the patriarchate. He promoted improved education among the clergy, reformed the administration of the assets of the patriarchate, and, by reducing by half the debts, improved the finances of the Patriarchate. He also initiated a major enlargement of the Patriarchal palace.

Patr. Joasaph is credited with establishing, in 1556, the Patriarchal School in Constantinople, with the assistance of Ioannis, Zygomalas[1] [2] that became the Great School of the Nation in the Phanar district of Constantinople.

While he showed interest in the Protestant Reformation, including in 1558 sending the deacon Demetrios to Wittenberg to collect information and receiving, in 1559, correspondence forwarding a translated copy of the Lutheran "Confession of Augsburg" as a opening to a dialog with the Orthodox Church, his interest did not any changes in relations with the rebellious Western churches. Patr. Joasaph and the Holy Synod of Constantinople found the doctrine heretical and never responded.

However, Patr. Joasaph's reforms and expensive projects, as well as his haughty manner towards the clergy and independent management of the patriarchal finances, created many opponents among the Greek Orthodox community. Ultimately, it was his handling of the request, in 1557, by Ivan the Terrible of Russia to have his title of Tsar formally confirmed that led to his deposition. Instead of convening a synod to deliberate the issue, Patr. Joasaph sent to Russia a forged synodical document and then collected the rich reward for himself. After his deceit was discovered, he was deposed by a synod of sixty bishops on January 15, 1565 and exiled to Mount Athos.

Succession box:
Joasaph II of Constantinople
Preceded by:
Bishop of Adrianople
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Dionyius II
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
Metrophanes III
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