Author Topic: St. Photius and the See of Constantinople  (Read 2093 times)

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Offline LightHammer

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St. Photius and the See of Constantinople
« on: Fri Sep 16, 2011 - 00:08:48 »
Bishop Ignatius of Constantinople was the presiding Patriarch of the See therein during the reign of the Emperor Bardas Caesar. After being refused Communion, due to his habitual incest with his daughter-in-law, Emperor had Ignatius banished from the land and appointed St. Photius to his See. St. Photius was rushed through Holy Orders in six days. On Christmas Day, he was ordained by Gregory Asbestas of Syracuse, who was formerly excommunicated by Ignatius and never reconciled.

After St. Photius' assumption of the See of Constantinople, his presidential was met with opposition and controversy by the remnant of the Ignatian party within the See. The claim was that Ignatius was the rightful Patriarch of the See in Constantinople and that St. Photius was an usurper.

Aggravated by the contention, the emperor requested papal endorsement for St. Photius' appointment. Pope Nicholas in turn sent a delegation legates to Constantinople to consider the case and to report back to the Pope. However the legates acting beyond the scope of their authority and endorsed the appointment of St. Photius together with the Court of Constantinople. Pope Nicholas sent letters detailing the abuse of the legates authority and that he had concluded that Ignatius was the true Patriarch of Constantinople and St. Photius should differ from all duties therein or be excommunicated.

St. Photius responded by saying that the Pope had no authority to decree such.


The point of this inquiry was not to go into the Photian schism, but to ask you guys a question.

By what standard do you all claim that St. Photius was a valid successor of Ignatius and a rightful Patriarch of Constantinople?

Offline CDHealy

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Re: St. Photius and the See of Constantinople
« Reply #1 on: Fri Sep 16, 2011 - 07:35:51 »
By the fact that a Church Council reinstated him to the see.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Photius_the_Great

Offline LightHammer

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Re: St. Photius and the See of Constantinople
« Reply #2 on: Fri Sep 16, 2011 - 11:06:01 »
By the fact that a Church Council reinstated him to the see.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Photius_the_Great


I am getting two different stories, here. Your article claims that the Rome endorsed the Council of Constantinople (879-880) as ecumenical. However the article I read put out by Rome is that although the legates allowed the will of the Photian party, which was the majority at the Council, to prevail Pope John VIII condemned the council altogether.

Legates can only represent the Patriarchate at a council. Once the council has been dismissed the Bishop of the Patriarchate must give his stamp of approval. This Council only served to resurrected the schism of Photius/Nicholas and Pope John VIII excommunicated St. Photius on spot.

So how is it that your article claims that Rome endorsed the Council of Constantinople (879 -880) as ecumenical when immediately coming to knowledge of what transpired Pope John VIII excommunicated Photius?

Furthermore Photius was ordained a little too quickly, however that's not that big of a deal. The main two issues for me is how a person can be ordained by someone who was excommunicated? Then there's the simple fact that Ignatius was never deposed from his position in Constantinople anyway. Since when does a secular emperor have ecclesiastical authority to depose of a Patriarch.

I understand the See was physically void of its leader because Ignatius was banished but that has never been a cause that annulled the reign of a Patriarch. St. Ignatius of Antioch didn't stop being the Bishop of Antioch while bound in chains on the road to martyrdom. How is that Photius even thought that he could assume the role of an already filled Patriarchate?  

I understand that after Ignatius died, Photius was the popular vote. Rome respected the right of the clergy to elect their own Patriarch and endorsed Photius. The question I have is what's with the mess before this?

Offline CDHealy

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Re: St. Photius and the See of Constantinople
« Reply #3 on: Thu Oct 13, 2011 - 06:09:47 »
Refer again to the article: there are contentions as to which council is the Council of Constantinople.  Orthodox and Rome have opposing views on which is the "official" one.

Further, Orthodox have a different view of priestly orders than Rome.  In Rome, the office inheres metaphysically in the officiant: one is and always remains a priest; the sacrament (in Rome) effects a metaphysical change (I'm slightly exagerrating for emphasis).

In Orthodoxy, the office is that to which one is called, and one exercises the gifts of the office by virtue of the calling.  If one is deposed, one has been removed from the office, and one is thus unable to exercise the gifts of the office.

This is why Rome defrocks (takes away the uniform) but the man is still considered a priest; while Orthodox depose (take away the office) and the man is laicized.

Of course, whether or not Ignatios was legitimately still Patriarch is part of the question.