« PrethodnaNastavi »
continuation of the same division which had vexed Tarasius and Nicephorus, although the immediate and superficial issues are different.1 When we apprehend this continuity, we are able to see that the particular question which determined the course of the conflict between Photius and Ignatius only rendered acute an antagonism which had existed for more than half a century.2
Methodius seems to have availed himself of the most popular kind of literature, edifying biographies of holy men, for the purpose of his struggle with the Studites. Under his auspices, Ignatius the Deacon composed the Lives of Tarasius and Nicephorus, in which the troubles connected with the opposition of Studion are diligently ignored. The ecclesiastical conflicts of the period are, indeed, reflected, more by hints and reticences than direct statements, in the copious hagiographical productions of the ninth century, to which reference is frequently made in this volume.
On the death of Methodius, the Empress Theodora and her advisers chose his successor from among three monks of illustrious birth, each of whom, if fortune had been kind, might have worn the Imperial crown. Nicetas, a son of the Emperor Michael I., had been tonsured after his father's death, had taken the name of Ignatius, and had founded new monasteries in the Islands of the Princes, over which he presided as abbot. Here he and his family, who had not been despoiled of their wealth, afforded refuge to imageworshippers who were driven from the capital. The sons of
1 Hergenrother (i. 353) saw that there was a connexion between the quarrels which vexed Methodius and those which troubled his successor. The continuity of the parties has been worked out by Uspenski, op. cit. 81 sqq., and more fully by Lebedev, op. cit. § 1.
2 It is noteworthy that Methodius was a Sicilian, and that a SicilianGregory Asbestas-was to play a leading part in the opposition to Ignatius. For at an earlier period we find traces of antagonism between Sicilian monks and the Studites (Michael, Vita Theod. 312; ep. Uspenski, op. cit. 81-82).
See the illuminating article of v. Dobschütz (referred to in the preceding notes), where the hagiographies
relating to the period are fully reviewed from this point of view. For the dating of the Lives by Ignatius to A.D. 843-845, see his remarks p. 54. Ignatius also wrote a Life of Gregory Dekapolites, which exists in MS., but has not been printed.
Nicetas, Vita Ign. 217, Plate, Hyatros and Terebinthos. Hyatros (or Iatros) is now called Niandro, a tiny islet south of Prinkipo. Terebinthos is Anderovithos, about two miles to the east of Prinkipo. See Pargoire, Les Monastères de S. Ignace, 62 sqq. He has shown that the monastery of Satyros, dedicated by Ignatius, on the opposite coast (see above, p. 133), to the Archangel Michael, was not founded till A.D). 873.
the Emperor Leo V., to whom the family of Ignatius owed its downfall, had been cast into a monastery in the island of Prote; they renounced the errors of their father, and won a high reputation for virtue and piety. When the Patriarchal throne became vacant, these monks of Imperial parentage, Basil and Gregory, the sons of Leo, and Ignatius, the son of Michael, were proposed for election.' Ignatius was preferred, perhaps because it was felt that notwithstanding their own merits the shadow of their father's heresy rested upon the sons of Leo; and he was consecrated on July 4, A.D. 847.2
Ignatius had spent his life in pious devotion and monastic organization. Tonsured at the age of thirteen or fourteen, he had made no progress in secular learning, which he distrusted and disliked. He was not a man of the world like Methodius; he had the rigid notions which were bred in cloistral life and were calculated to lead himself and the Church into difficulties when they were pursued in the Patriarchal palace. It is probable that he was too much engaged in his own work to have taken any part in the disputes which troubled Methodius, and Theodora may have hoped that he would succeed in conciliating the opposing parties. But he was by nature an anti-Methodian, and he showed this on the very day of his consecration.
Gregory Asbestas, the archbishop of Syracuse, happened to be in Constantinople at the time. A Sicilian, he was a friend of the Sicilian Methodius, on whom he composed a panegyric, and he was a man of some learning. There was a charge against him of some ecclesiastical irregularity, and it was probably in connexion with this that he had come to the capital. He had taken his place among the bishops who attended in St. Sophia, bearing tapers, to acclaim the Patriarch, and Ignatius ordered him to withdraw, on the ground that his episcopal status was in abeyance until the charge which lay
against him had been decided. This public slight enraged, Gregory, who dashed his candle to the ground and loudly declared that not a shepherd but a wolf had intruded into the Church. The new Patriarch certainly displayed neither the wisdom of a serpent nor the harmlessness of a dove, and his own adherents admit that he was generally blamed.' He had thus at the very outset taken pains to offend an able and eminent prelate of the party which had supported Methodius, and the action was interpreted as a declaration of war. result was a schism. Gregory had many sympathizers; some bishops had marked their disapprobation of the action of Ignatius by leaving the church in his company. A schismatic group was formed which refused to acknowledge the new Patriarch-a group which expressed the general tendencies of the Methodian party and avowed an unreserved admiration for Methodius. But it was only a small group. The hierarchy in general supported Ignatius, as it had supported Methodius; for Ignatius was supported by Theodora. Nevertheless the followers of Gregory, though comparatively few, were influential. They alleged against the Patriarch that he was a detractor from the merits and memory of his predecessor, and that he was unduly rigorous and narrow in his application of the canons. Ignatius summoned Gregory to answer the charge which still hung over his head; Gregory declined, and, along with others of his party, was condemned by a synod. He appealed against this judgment to Pope Leo IV., who asked the Patriarch to send him a copy of the Acts. Ignatius did not comply, and Leo's successor, Benedict III., declined to confirm the deposition of Gregory, and contented himself with suspending him until he had inspected the documents."
1 Vita Ign, 232 οὐ καλῶς μέν, ὥς γε δοκοῦν τοῖς πολλοῖς.
16. Especially Peter, bishop of Sardis, and Eulampios, bishop of Apamea.
3 Lebedev seems, in his exposition of the continuity of the two parties, to have missed the importance of Theodora's attitude. On their own principles, the Methodians were bound to support the new l'atriarch, so long as he was orthodox and was upheld by the Emperor. The greater num ber probably adhered to Ignatius, and
we must accept the continuity of the party with this limitation.
Stylianos, Ep. 428; Mansi, xiv. 1029-32. The synod was held not later than 854, for Leo IV. died in 855. Stylianos, loc. cit.; Nicolaus, Ep. 9. For the fragment of a letter of Leo IV. to Ignatius, complaining that the Patriarch had deposed certain men without his knowledge or consent, see Ewald, "Die Papstbriefe der brittischen Sammlung," in Neues Archiv, v. 379 (1879). The persons in question are undoubtedly Gregory and his fellows.
The schism of Gregory might be allowed to rest in the obscurity of ecclesiastical records if it had not won distinction and importance by the adhesion of the most remarkable man of the age. Photius was probably born about the beginning of the ninth century. His father, Sergius,' was a brother of the Patriarch Tarasius, and through his mother he was connected with the family of the Empress Theodora. His parents suffered exile for their devotion to image-worship under the iconoclastic sovrans, and it was probably in the first years of Theodora's reign that Photius entered upon his He had an as a public teacher of philosophy. attractive personality, he was a stimulating teacher, and he soon found a band of disciples who hung upon his words. His encyclopaedic learning, in which he not only excelled all the men of his own time but was unequalled by any Greek of the Middle Ages, will call for notice in another chapter. His family connexions as well as his talents opened a career in the Imperial service; and he was ultimately appointed to the high post of Protoasecretis, or First Secretary, with the rank of a protospathar. It was probably during his tenure of this important post that he was sent as ambassador to the East, perhaps to Baghdad itself, perhaps only to some of the provincial emirs. Whatever his services as an envoy may have been, he established personal relations of friendship with Mohammadan magnates."
Photius had a high respect for Gregory Asbestas, and identified himself closely with the group which opposed
Ignatius.1 There was a natural antipathy between Photius, a man of learning and a man of the world, and Ignatius, who had neither tact nor secular crudition. It is probable that the Patriarch even displayed in some public way his dislike or disdain for profane learning. We can well understand that he was deeply vexed by the opposition of a man whose talents and learning were unreservedly recognized by his contemporaries, and who exerted immense influence in the educated society of the city. The synod, which condemned Gregory, seems to have also condemned Photius, implicitly if not by name; and he was numbered among the schismatics."
In order to embarrass the Patriarch, and to prove that a training in logic and philosophy was indispensable for defending Christian doctrine and refuting false opinions, Photius conceived the idea of propounding a heresy. He promulgated the thesis that there are two souls in man, one liable to err, the other immune from error. Some took this seriously and were convinced by his ingenious arguments, to the everlasting peril of their souls. His friend, Constantine the Philosopher, who was afterwards to become famous as the Apostle of the Slavs, reproached Photius with propounding this dangerous proposition. "I had no idea," said Photius, "that it would do any harm. I only wanted to see how Ignatius would deal with it, without the aid of the philosophy which he rejects."
The Palace revolution which resulted in the fall of Theodora and placed the government in the hands of Bardas changed the ecclesiastical situation. Whatever difficulties beset Ignatius in a post which he was not well qualified to fill, whatever vexation might be caused to him through the active or passive resistance of his opponents, he was secure so long as the Empress was in power. But Bardas was a friend. and admirer of Photius, and the Ignatian party must have felt his access to power as a severe blow. Bardas, however, was a sufficiently prudent statesman to have no desire
wantonly to disturb the existing state of things, or to stir up
Nicolaus, Ep, 11. p. 163; Stylianos, Ep. 428; Pseudo-Simeon, 671.
2 Anastasius, Praef. 6 "qui scilicet viros exterioris sapientiae repulisset." 3 Libellus Ignatii, 300; Metrophanes, Ep. 415.
Anastasius, Praef. 6; cp. PseudoSimeon, 673; Mansi, xvi. 456. Cp. Hergenrother, iii. 444-446. The doctrine had such a vogue that the fathers of the Eighth Council thought it expedient to condemn it (canon x., Mansi, ib. 404).