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the deep sleep of intoxication, and the chamberlain on duty, discovering that the door could not be bolted, divined the danger, but could not waken the Emperor.
Basil had engaged the help of eight friends, some of whom had taken part in his first crime, the murder of Bardas. Accompanied by these, Basil opened the door of the bed-chamber, and was confronted by the chamberlain, who opposed his entrance. One of the conspirators diving under Basil's arm rushed to the bed, but the chamberlain sprang after him and gripped him. Another then wounded Basiliskianos and hurled him on the floor, while a third, John Chaldos (who had been prominent among the slayers of Bardas), hewed at the sleeping Emperor with his sword, and cut off both his hands. Basil seems to have stood at the door, while the other accomplices kept guard outside. John Chaldos thought that he had done enough; he left the room, and the conspirators consulted whether their victim should be despatched outright. One of them ? took it upon himself to return to the bed where Michael was moaning out piteous imprecations against Basil, and ripped up his body.
Through the darkness of a stormy night the assassins rowed across the Golden Horn, landing near the house of a Persian named Eulogios, who joined them. By breaking through an enclosure : they reached a gate of the Great Palace. Eulogios called out to his fellow-countryman Artavasdos, the Hetaeriarch, in the Persian tongue,"Open to the Emperor, for Michael has perished by the sword.” Artavasdos rushed to the Papias, took the keys from him by force, and opened the gate.
In the morning, Eudocia Ingerina was conducted in state from St. Mamas to the Great Palace, to take, as reigning
i Those who shared in both crimes were John Chaldos, Peter the Bulgarian, Asylaion, Maurianos, Constantine Toxaras, Symbatios, cousin of Asylaion. The other two were Bardas (father of Symbatios) and Jakovitzes, a Persian. Several of them probably belonged to the Hetaireia or foreign guard, the captain of which, Artavasdos, may have been initiated in the plot.
Asylaion. 3 From the house of Eulogios they reached the palace of Marina. Tlač δε ήν περιφράσσουσα το τείχος και
κρατήσας Βασίλειος δύο των μετ' αυτού όντων και λακτίσας κατέαξε την πλάκα και εισήλθον μέχρι της πύλης του παλατίου (Simeon, ib. 838). TÒ teixos seems to be the wall of the Palace, round which at this point there was a brick enclosure. The palace of Marina was on the sea side of the Great Palace (since it was in the First Region, cp. Ducange, Const. Chr. ii. p. 113), but we do not know whether it was north of the Bucoleon, and therefore we have no means of conjecturing at what gate Basil found Arta yasdos.
Augusta, the place of the other Eudocia, who was restored to her parents. A chamberlain was sent to provide for the burial of the late Emperor. He found the corpse rolled up in a horsecloth, and the Empress Theodora, with her daughters, weeping over her son. He was buried in a monastery at Chrysopolis, on the Asiatic shore.
Such is the recorded story of the final act which raised Basil the Macedonian to supreme power. It is probably correct in its main details, but it not only leaves out some of the subordinate elements in the situation, such as the attitude of Eudocia—was she in the secret ?—but fails to make it clear whether Basil was driven to the assassination of his benefactor by what he conceived to be a political necessity, or was prompted merely by the vulgar motive of ambition.
No plea could be set up for the murder of Bardas on the ground of the public good, but the murder of Michael is a different case. The actual government had devolved on Basil, who was equal to the task; but if the follies and caprices of Michael, who was the autocrat, thwarted his subordinate colleague, the situation might have become well-nigh impossible. could trust the partial narrative of Basil's Imperial grandson, who is concerned not only to exonerate his ancestor, but to make out a case to justify the revolution, Michael had become an intolerable tyrant. In his fits of drunkenness he issued atrocious orders for the execution and torture of innocent men, -orders which he had forgotten the next day. In order to raise money, he began to make depredations on churches and religious houses, and to confiscate the property of rich people. There was nothing for it but to kill him like a noxious snake. “ Therefore the most reputable of the ministers and the wise section of the Senate took counsel together, and caused him to be slain by the Palace guard.” Allowing for some exaggeration and bias in this picture of the situation, we may be right in believing that Michael had become unmanageable and mischievous, and that it was to the general advantage to sup
The vigorous reign of Basil proves that he was deeply interested in the efficiency of the government. It is not our business either to justify or to condemn the murder of Michael III.; we are only concerned to understand it.
1 Cont. Th. 251-252, 254.
PHOTIUS AND IGNATIUS
UNDER the rule of the iconoclasts, the differences which divided the “ orthodox” had been suffered to slumber; but the defeat of the common enemy was the signal for the renewal of a conflict which had disturbed the peace of the Church under Irene and Nicephorus. The two parties, which had suspended their feud, now again stood face to face.
The fundamental principle of the State Church founded by Constantine was the supremacy of the Emperor; the Patriarch and the whole hierarchy were subject to him; he not only protected, he governed the Church. The smooth working of this system demanded from churchmen a spirit of compromise and “economy.” It might often be difficult for a Patriarch to decide at what point his religious duty forbade him to comply with the Emperor's will; and it is evident that Patriarchs, like Tarasius and Nicephorus, who had served the State in secular posts, were more likely to work discreetly and harmoniously under the given conditions than men who had been brought up in cloisters.
We saw how the monks of Studion organized an opposition to these Patriarchs, whom they denounced for sacrificing canonical rules to expediency. The abbot Theodore desired to subvert the established system. He held that the Emperor was merely the protector of the Church, and that the Church was independent. He affirmed, moreover, the supremacy of the Roman See in terms which no Emperor and few, if any, Patriarchs would have endorsed. But by their theory, which they boldly put into practice, the Studites were undermining Patriarchal and episcopal authority. They asserted the right of monks to pass an independent judgment
on the administration of their bishop, and, in case his actions did not meet with their approval, to refuse to communicate with him. A movement of independence or insubordination, which was likely to generate schisms, was initiated, and the activity and influence of Theodore must have disseminated his views far beyond the limits of his own community
Thus there arose two antagonistic sections, of which one approved more or less the doctrines of Theodore of Studion, while the other upheld Patriarchal authority and regarded Nicephorus as an ideal Patriarch. One insisted on the strictest observation of ecclesiastical canons and denounced the sudden elevations of Nicephorus and Tarasius from the condition of laymen to the episcopal office; the other condoned such irregularities which special circumstances commended to the Imperial wisdom. One declined to allow any relaxation of canonical rules in favour of the Emperor; the other was prepared to permit him considerable limits of dispensation. There were, in fact, two opposite opinions as to the spirit and method of ecclesiastical administration, corresponding to two different types of ecclesiastic. Both sides included monks ; and it would not be true to say that the monks generally rallied to the section of the Studites.
There were many abbots and many hermits who disliked the Studite ideal of a rigorous, disciplinary regulation of monastic life, and many who, like Theophanes of Sigriane, were satisfied with the State Church and had no sympathy with the aggressive policy of Theodore and his fellows.
Methodius had always been an ecclesiastic, and the Studites could not reproach him for any irregularity in his consecration as bishop. He had been a martyr in the cause of image-) worship, and he had effectively assisted in its triumph. But his promotion to the Patriarchate was not pleasing to the Studite monks. His sympathies were with the other party, and he was prepared to carry on the tradition of Tarasius and Nicephorus. We can well understand that his intimacy with the Emperor Theophilus, with whom he agreed to differ on the iconoclastic question, was far from commending him to the stricter brethren. The Studites were prepared to be critical, and from the very beginning his administration was the subject
of adverse comment or censure. He desired to conciliate them, I and the bones of their revered abbot Theodore were brought
back for interment at Studion, with great solemnity. But the satisfaction of the monks at this public honour to their abbot was mitigated, if it was not cancelled, by the translation, at the same time, of the remains of Nicephorus to the Church of the Apostles. They recalled his uncanonical consecration, they recalled his condonation of “adultery.” But if he could not conciliate them, the Patriarch was determined to crush their rebellious spirit. He called upon them to anathematize all that Theodore had written against Tarasius and Nicephorus, and he urged that Theodore had himself practically revoked his own strong language, had been reconciled with Nicephorus, and in fact changed his opinion. But the Studites obstinately refused, and Methodius asserted his Patriarchal authority. “ You are monks,” he said, “and you have no right to question the conduct of your bishops; you must submit to them.” 3
He pronounced against the rebellious brethren not the simple anathema, but the curse, the katathema, of the Church. The struggle seems to have ended with concessions on the part of the Patriarch.4
The difficulties which troubled the short administration of Methodius ó possess a significant bearing on the more serious
5 ecclesiastical strife which marked the reign of his successor, and which led, indirectly, to the great schism between the Eastern and the Western Churches. The two opposing parties
. of Ignatius and Photius represent the same parties which distracted the Patriarchate of Methodius, and the struggle is thus a
1 Methodius was blamed especially for too indulgent treatment of repentant iconoclasts, and for ordaining new bishops and priests without a sufficient investigation of their qualifications. For the disputes see Vita Joannicii, c. 51, 52, 57, and Vita Methodii, 257-260. They are discussed by Uspenski, Ocherki, 83 899.; Lebedev, Istoriia, 17-19; Hergenrother, i. 352 sqq. ; but best by Dobschütz, Meth. u. die Stud.
2 See Theophanes, De exsilio Nicephori ; Methodius, Ad Studitas, 129398 (and the Synodica in Pitra, Jur. ecc. Gr. 2, 361); Dobschütz, 42 sqq.
3 Narratio de Tar. et Niceph. 1853.
4 Dobschütz, 47.
5 His difficulties are illustrated by a despondent letter which he wrote to the Patriarch of Jerusalem (see Bibliography). He expresses his disappointment at the unbecoming and insolent conduct of the repentant iconoclastic clergy. His Patriarchate was also troubled by the heresy of Zélix, or Lizikos, an Imperial secretary (Gen. 85; Vita Method. 282), who considered Jesus Christ to be a creature (kTioma), refused the title of Theotokos to the Virgin, and rejected the vivificous cross. These dangerous opinions were suppressed, and Zélix and his followers reconciled to orthodoxy.