Pope Constantine

Last updated
Pope

Constantine
Papacy began25 March 708
Papacy ended9 April 715
Predecessor Sisinnius
Successor Gregory II
Personal details
Birth nameConstantinus
Born664
Syria, Umayyad Caliphate
Died(715-04-09)9 April 715
Rome [1]

Pope Constantine (Latin : Constantinus; 664 9 April 715) was Bishop of Rome from 25 March 708 to his death in 715. [2] With the exception of Antipope Constantine, he was the only pope to bear such a "quintessentially" Eastern name of an emperor. [3] During this period, the regnal name was also used by emperors and patriarchs.

Contents

Selected as one of the last popes of the Byzantine Papacy, the defining moment of Constantine's pontificate was his 710/711 visit to Constantinople where he compromised with Justinian II on the Trullan canons of the Quinisext Council. Constantine was the last pope to visit Constantinople until Pope Paul VI did in 1967. [4] [5]

Byzantine Papacy Byzantine domination of the Roman papacy, 537 to 752

The Byzantine Papacy was a period of Byzantine domination of the Roman papacy from 537 to 752, when popes required the approval of the Byzantine Emperor for episcopal consecration, and many popes were chosen from the apocrisiarii or the inhabitants of Byzantine-ruled Greece, Syria, or Sicily. Justinian I conquered the Italian peninsula in the Gothic War (535–554) and appointed the next three popes, a practice that would be continued by his successors and later be delegated to the Exarchate of Ravenna.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Byzantine Empire, and also of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261). It was the capital of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city was located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul.

Justinian II Byzantine emperor

Justinian II, surnamed the Rhinotmetos or Rhinotmetus, was the last Byzantine Emperor of the Heraclian Dynasty, reigning from 685 to 695 and again from 705 to 711. Justinian II was an ambitious and passionate ruler who was keen to restore the Roman Empire to its former glories, but he responded poorly to any opposition to his will and lacked the finesse of his father, Constantine IV. Consequently, he generated enormous opposition to his reign, resulting in his deposition in 695 in a popular uprising, and he only returned to the throne in 705 with the help of a Bulgar and Slav army. His second reign was even more despotic than the first, and it too saw his eventual overthrow in 711, abandoned by his army who turned on him before killing him.

Early life

Constantine was a Syrian by birth, fluent in the Greek language and immersed in Eastern rituals and practices. [6] By his upbringing, he would have been "fully at ease in the oriental milieu of the early-eighth-century Byzantine court". [6]

Syria Country in Western Asia

Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans and Turkemens. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma'ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, Yazidis, and Jews. Sunnis make up the largest religious group in Syria.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Before his selection as pope, he had visited Constantinople twice. [6] He was one of the Roman legates to the Third Council of Constantinople there in 680/681. [6] He also delivered a combative letter from Pope Leo II to Constantine IV in 682. [6] He met and developed a rapport with Prince Justinian, the heir apparent to the Byzantine throne, on both occasions. [6]

Third Council of Constantinople synod

The Third Council of Constantinople, counted as the Sixth Ecumenical Council by the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches, as well by certain other Western Churches, met in 680/681 and condemned monoenergism and monothelitism as heretical and defined Jesus Christ as having two energies and two wills.

Pope Leo II was Bishop of Rome from 17 August 682 to 28 June 683. He is one of the popes of the Byzantine Papacy.

Constantine IV Byzantine emperor (b. 652 d. 685}

Constantine IV, sometimes incorrectly called Pogonatos (Πωγωνάτος), "the Bearded", out of confusion with his father, was Byzantine Emperor from 668 to 685. His reign saw the first serious check to nearly 50 years of uninterrupted Islamic expansion, while his calling of the Sixth Ecumenical Council saw the end of the monothelitism controversy in the Byzantine Empire.

Selection as Pope

Constantine's predecessor Pope Sisinnius, a Syrian, was pope for only twenty days. [7] Constantine became pope in March 708, less than two months later. [7] Constantine was one of the many Greek popes of the Byzantine Papacy, the period during which Rome was under the rule of the Byzantine Empire and popes required the approval of the emperor for consecration as pope.

Pope Sisinnius was Bishop of Rome from 15 January to his death in 708.

Byzantine Empire Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, is the common name given to the surviving Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".

Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word consecration literally means "association with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups. The origin of the word comes from the Latin stem consecrat, which means dedicated, devoted, and sacred. A synonym for to consecrate is to sanctify; a distinct antonym is to desecrate.

The defining issue of the papacy at the time of Constantine's election was the Western rejection of the Trullan canons of the Quinisext Council. [8] Pope John VII had been sent the canons for approval and instead had sent them back, "without any emendations at all". [8] John VII's predecessor, Pope Sergius I had declared that he would rather die than subscribe to the council. [8]

Quinisext Council synod

The Quinisext Council was a church council held in 692 at Constantinople under Justinian II. It is known as the "Council in Trullo" because, like the Sixth Ecumenical Council, it was held in a domed hall in the Imperial Palace. Both the Fifth and the Sixth Ecumenical Councils had omitted to draw up disciplinary canons, and as this council was intended to complete both in this respect, it took the name of Quinisext, i.e. the Fifth-Sixth Council. It was attended by 215 bishops, all from the Eastern Roman Empire. Basil of Gortyna in Crete, however, belonged to the Roman patriarchate and called himself papal legate, though no evidence is extant of his right to use that title.

Pope John VII pope

Pope John VII was Bishop of Rome from 1 March 705 to his death in 707. Like his predecessor, John VI, John VII was an ethnic Greek. He is one of the popes of the Byzantine Papacy.

Pope Sergius I was Bishop of Rome from December 15, 687, to his death in 701. He was elected at a time when two rivals, the Archdeacon Paschal and the Archpriest Theodore, were locked in dispute about which of them should become pope.

Papal visit to Constantinople

In 710, Justinian II demanded in a iussio that Constantine appear before the emperor in Constantinople. [9] The imperial mandate made it "obvious that the relentless emperor meant to settle once and for all the issue of Rome's acceptance of the Trullan decrees". [3] Unlike his predecessors, Constantine neither delayed nor made excuses to avoid appearing in the imperial city; in fact, he "identified with Byzantium as perhaps no Roman pontiff before him ever had". [3] Prior to Constantine's departure, the Emperor had blinded Archbishop Felix of Ravenna for plotting to overthrow the Emperor, an act that had improved the papal-Byzantine rapport. [6] However, Constantine's primary motivation for the trip was to "forestall" a rift between Rome and Constantinople over the Trullan decrees. [6]

Constantine departed on 5 October 710. [6] In Constantinople, Constantine stayed in the Placidia Palace, which had formerly been occupied by Pope Vigilius in 547, the representatives of Pope Martin I, and Pope Agatho (while attending the Third Council of Constantinople). [10] Eleven of Constantine's thirteen companions who can be identified by name (two bishops, three priests, and all the ranking members of the papal chancellery and household) were also of Eastern extraction. [11] Also accompanying Constantine was the future Pope Gregory II, then a deacon, and another Latin subdeacon Julian. [11] Constantine specifically chose attendants who were "cut from similar cloth" as he, and likely to be sympathetic to the East. [6]

While stopping in transit in Naples, Constantine crossed paths with Exarch of Ravenna John III Rizocopo, then on his way to Rome to execute four high-ranking papal officials by cutting their throats. [6] The four (as evidenced by their staying behind) were opposed to Constantine's new policy of rapproachment with Constantinople. [6] Doubtlessly, Constantine himself learned of the exarch's errand before departing for Sicily, then Gallipoli, and then Otranto, where the group stayed for winter. [6] In the spring, Constantine crossed the Ionian Sea, meeting the strategos of the imperial fleet on the island of Chios and was received by the Karabisianoi before proceeding to Constantinople. [6]

Constantine entered Constantinople on a "horse caparisoned with gilded saddle clothes and golden bridles and bearing on his head the kamelaukion , or diadem, which the sovereign alone was authorized to wear and then only on 'a great public festival of the Lord'". [6] The Emperor Justinian II's son and co-emperor Tiberios (along with Patriarch Kyros, senators, nobles, clerics, and many others) greeted Constantine at the seventh milestone from the city in the style of an imperial adventus . [12] Justinian II was in Nicaea at the time and urged the pontiff to meet him in Nicomedia. [12] The Liber pontificalis recounts a bizarre scene of the crowned emperor prostrating himself before the pope, but a more mutual greeting is probable. [12] That Sunday, Justinian II received communion from the hands of the pope and issued a vague confirmation of the various privileges of the Roman See. [12]

The negotiations regarding the Trullan canons were conducted by the future Pope Gregory II. A degree of compromise (the "so-called Compromise of Nicomedia")—which "diplomatically skirted" the actual issue of their acceptance—was reached. [12] While Constantine made concessions regarding the economia , he did not give ground on the vast majority of the Roman grievances. [12] The agreement was more designed to secure East-West political unity than resolve any doctrinal dispute. [12] The fact of Constantine's having been summoned to Constantinople was the real proof that the "imperial writ still ran in Rome". [12] Constantine left the city in October 711.

Later imperial disputes

Constantine refused to accept coins minted with the image of Philippikos Bardanes. Solidus-Philippicus-sb1447.3.jpg
Constantine refused to accept coins minted with the image of Philippikos Bardanes.

However, shortly after Constantine's return to Rome, Justinian was killed by mutinous troops, in November 711.

The new emperor Philippikos Bardanes was an adherent of Monothelitism, rejected the arrangements of the Third Council of Constantinople, and demanded Constantine's support of the view that Christ had only one will. In 712, Constantine rejected Philippikos demand to revive Monothelitism. He further refused to receive an imperial portrait or coins with the emperor's image and also refused to commemorate the emperor in Mass. [8] As the exarch (the imperial representative in Italy) attempted to enforce the imperial presence there were clashes, but Constantine was able to calm the situation.

Philippus was overthrown in June 713 and his successor, Anastasius II, had exarch Scholasticus deliver to the Pope a letter affirming his support for the Sixth General Council.

Notes

  1. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Constantine/Pope". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  2. Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Constantine"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  3. 1 2 3 Ekonomou 2007 , p. 270
  4. Fiske, Edward B (1967-07-26), "Papal Pilgrimage Is Viewed as a Major Step Toward Reunion", New York Times: 2
  5. Pope holds Mass at ancient Christian site in Turkey, USA today, 2006-11-29, retrieved 2009-09-09
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Ekonomou 2007 , p. 271
  7. 1 2 Ekonomou 2007 , p. 246
  8. 1 2 3 4 Ekonomou 2007 , p. 247
  9. Ekonomou 2007 , p. 269
  10. Ekonomou 2007 , p. 30
  11. 1 2 Ekonomou 2007 , p. 245
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Ekonomou 2007 , p. 272

Related Research Articles

Pope Martin I Pope from 21 July 649 to 655

Pope Martin I reigned from 21 July 649 to his death in 655. He succeeded Pope Theodore I on 5 July 649. He was the only pope during the Eastern Roman domination of the papacy whose election was not approved by a mandate from Constantinople. Martin I was exiled by Emperor Constans II and died at Cherson. He is considered a saint and martyr by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. In the Orthodox church he is known as St. Martin the Confessor, the Pope of Rome.

Pope Gregory II was Bishop of Rome from 19 May 715 to his death in 731. His defiance of the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Isaurian as a result of the iconoclastic controversy in the Eastern Empire prepared the way for a long series of revolts, schisms and civil wars that eventually led to the establishment of the temporal power of the popes.

Phocas emperor of Byzantine Empire

Phocas was Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610. The early life of Phocas is largely unknown, but he rose to prominence in 602, as a leader in the revolt against Emperor Maurice. Phocas captured Constantinople and overthrew Maurice on 23 November 602, and declared himself Byzantine Emperor on the same day. Phocas deeply distrusted the elite of Constantinople, and therefore installed his relatives in high military positions, and brutally purged his opponents. Phocas was an incompetent leader, both of the administration and army, and under him the Byzantine Empire was threatened by multiple enemies, with frequent raids in the Balkans from the Avars and Slavs, and a Sassanid invasion of the eastern provinces. Because of Phocas' incompetence and brutality, the Exarch of Carthage, Heraclius the Elder, rebelled against him. Heraclius the Elder's son, Heraclius, succeeded in taking Constantinople on 5 October 610, and executed Phocas on the same day, before declaring himself the Byzantine Emperor.

Pope Conon was Bishop of Rome from 21 October 686 to his death in 687. He had been put forward as a compromise candidate, there being a conflict between the two factions resident in Rome— the military and the clerical. On his death, Conon was buried in the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter. He consecrated the Irish missionary Kilian a bishop and commissioned him to preach in Franconia.

John Platyn or Platinus was an Exarch of Ravenna.

John III Rizocopus was an Exarch of Ravenna (710).

Sergius I was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 610 to 638. He is most famous for promoting Monothelite Christianity, especially through the Ecthesis.

First seven ecumenical councils

In the history of Christianity, the first seven ecumenical councils include the following: the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, the Third Council of Constantinople from 680–681 and finally, the Second Council of Nicaea in 787.

Papal selection before 1059

There was no fixed process for papal selection before 1059. Popes, the bishops of Rome and the leaders of the Catholic Church, were often appointed by their predecessors or secular rulers. While the process was often characterized by some capacity of election, an election with the meaningful participation of the laity was the exception to the rule, especially as the popes' claims to temporal power solidified into the Papal States. The practice of papal appointment during this period would later give rise to the jus exclusivae, a veto right exercised by Catholic monarchies into the twentieth century.

Lateran Council of 649

The Lateran Council of 649 was a synod held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran to condemn Monothelitism, a Christology espoused by many Eastern Christians. The Council did not achieve ecumenical status in either East or West, but represented the first attempt of a pope to convene an ecumenical council independent of the Roman emperor.

Placidia Palace

The Placidia Palace was the official residence of the papal apocrisiarius, and the intermittent home of the Pope himself when in residence at Constantinople. The apocrisiarius held "considerable influence as a conduit for both public and covert communications" between Pope and Byzantine emperor.

The apocrisiarius or apocrisiary was the legate from the Pope to the Patriarch of Constantinople, circa 452-743, equivalent to the modern nunciature.

Twenty Years Anarchy period of acute internal instability in the Byzantine Empire

The Twenty Years' Anarchy is a historiographic term used by some modern scholars for the period of acute internal instability in the Byzantine Empire marked by the rapid succession of several emperors to the throne between the first deposition of Justinian II in 695 and the ascent of Leo III the Isaurian to the throne in 717, marking the beginning of the Isaurian dynasty.

References

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Sisinnius
Pope
708–715
Succeeded by
Gregory II