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vacant, inasmuch as Ignatius had neither resigned nor been canonically deposed. Such a procedure was not an innovation; there were several precedents." The choice of the government and the ecclesiastical party which was opposed to Ignatius fell upon Photius. He was not only a grata persona at Court; but his extraordinary gifts, his eminent reputation, along with his unimpeachable orthodoxy, were calculated to shed prestige on the Patriarchal chair, and to reconcile the public to a policy which seemed open to the reproaches of violence and injustice. Many of the bishops who had vowed to support the cause of Ignatius were won over by Bardas, and Photius accepted the high office, which, according to his enemies, had long been the goal of his ambition, and which, according to his own avowal, he would have been only too glad to decline.2 He was tonsured on December 20; on the four following days he was successively ordained lector, subdeacon, deacon, and priest, and on Christmas Day consecrated bishop, by his friend Gregory Asbestas.3 For this rapid and irregular elevation to the highest dignity of the Church, which was one of the principal objections urged against Photius, the recent precedents of his uncle Tarasius and Nicephorus, as well as others, could be alleged. The ambiguous position of Gregory, who had been deposed by a synod and suspended by a Pope, furnished another handle against the new Patriarch. But all the bishops who were present in Constantinople, except five, acknowledged him, and the five dissentients were persuaded to acquiesce when he gave them a written undertaking that he would honour Ignatius as a father and act according to his wishes.5 But two months later
Metrophanes (loc. cit.), who was one of the five, says: "When we saw that the mass of the bishops had been seduced we thought it right to acknowledge him in writing (δι' ιδιοχείρου ὁμολογίας) as a son of our Church and in communion with its High Priest (Ignatius), in order that even here we might not be found in disagreement with his will; for he (Ignatius) had directed us to elect a Patriarch from our Church in Christ. So when Photius signed in our presence a promise that he would hold the Patriarch free from blame and neither speak against him nor permit others to do so, we accepted
he is said to have recovered the document on some pretext and torn it up into small pieces. Then those bishops who were really on the side of Ignatius, and had unwillingly consented to an impossible compromise, held a series of meetings in the church of St. Irene, and deposed and excommunicated Photius with his adherents.1 Such an irregular assembly could not claim the authority of a synod, but it was a declaration of Photius immediately retorted by holding a synod in the Holy Apostles. Ignatius, in his absence, was deposed and anathematized; and the opportunity was probably used to declare Gregory Asbestas absolved from those charges which had led to his condemnation by the ex-Patriarch (spring A.D. 859).2
In the meantime Bardas persistently endeavoured to force Ignatius to an act of abdication. He was moved from place to place and treated with cruel rigour. His followers were
unwillingly, on account of the violence of the government. It appears from this that Ignatius, though he refused to abdicate, would have been prepared to do so if another than Photius had been his successor. It is to be observed that while the Lib. Ign. and the Vita Ign. assert that Ignatius declined throughout to abdicate, Basil, archbishop of Thessalonica, a younger contemporary of Photius, in his Vita Euthym. jun. 178 states that he, partly voluntarily, partly under compulsion, executed an act of abdication (βιβλίον παραιτήσεως τῇ Ἐκκλησίᾳ Tapadidwol). Cp. Papadopulos-Kerameus, ὁ πατρ. Φώτιος (cited above), 659-660; P.-K. accepts this statement. The evidence is certainly remarkable, but Basil, though he speaks sympathetically of Ignatius, is an ardent admirer of Photius; cp. ib. 179.
1 Metrophanes, ib. The meeting lasted forty days.
2 The chronology is uncertain, and there is a discrepancy between Metrophanes and Vita Ign. According to the latter source Ignatius was removed to Mytilene in August (859), and was there when the synod in the Holy Apostles was held; the other assembly in St. Irene is not mentioned. Metrophanes implies that the two synods were almost contemporary, and that the persecution of Ignatius, prior to his deportation to Mytilene, was sub
sequent to the synod which deposed him. He evidently places the synods in the spring, for he connects the deposition of Ignatius with the recovery of the signed document of Photius (ὃς μετὰ βραχὺ καὶ τὸ ἴδιον ἀφείλετο χειρόγραφον καὶ καθεῖλεν Ἰγνάτιον). As Metrophanes was himself an actor in these transactions, and was incarcerated with Ignatius in the Numera, he is the better authority. It was, no doubt, hoped to extract an abdication from Ignatius without deposing him, but the assembly of St. Irene forced the hand of Photius. It was, however, no less desirable after the synod to procure an abdication in view of public opinion.
3 He was removed from Terebinthos to Hieria (where he was kept in a goat-fold), then to the suburb of Promotos (on the Galata side of the Golden Horn; see Pargoire, Boradion, 482-483), where he was beaten by Leo Lalakon, the Domestic of the Numeri (who knocked out two of his teeth), and loaded with heavy irons. Then he was shut up in the prison of the Numera, near the Palace, till he was taken to Mytilene, where he remained six months (c. August 859 to February 860). He was then permitted to return to Terebinthos, and he is said to have suffered ill-treatment from Nicetas Oory phas, who was Prefect of the City (see above, Chapter IV. p. 144, note). But a worse thing happened.
barbarously punished. The writers of the Ignatian party accuse Photius of having prompted these acts of tyranny, but letters of Photius himself to Bardas, bitterly protesting against the cruelties, show that he did not approve this policy of violence,1 which indeed only served to increase his own unpopularity. The populace of the city seems to have been in favour of Ignatius, who had also sympathizers among the Imperial ministers, such as Constantine the Drungarios of the Watch. The monks, from whose rank he had risen, generally supported him; the Studites refused to communicate with the new Patriarch, and their abbot Nicolas left Constantinople.2 Photius, as is shown by his correspondence, took great pains to win the goodwill of individual monks and others by flattery and delicate attentions.3
The announcement of the enthronement of a new Patriarch, which it was the custom to send to the other four Patriarchal Sees-Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem-had been postponed, evidently in the hope that Ignatius would be induced to abdicate. When more than a year had passed and this hope was not fulfilled, the formal announcement could no longer be deferred. An inthronistic letter was addressed to the Eastern Patriarchs, and an embassy was sent to Rome bearing letters to the Pope from Michael and Photius. The chair of St. Peter was now filled by Nicolas I., who stands out among the Pontiffs between Gregory I. and Gregory VII. as having done more than any other to raise the Papal power to the place which it was to hold in the days of Innocent III.5
Terebinthos, like the other islands in
1 See Photius, Ep. 159.
2 Nicolas of Crete had succeeded Naukratios as abbot in 848. He remained seven years in exile, first at Praenete in Bithynia, then in the Chersonese, whence (865-866) he was brought in chains to Constantinople and incarcerated in his own monastery for two years. He obtained his free
dom on the accession of Basil. In the meantime a succession of unwelcome abbots had been imposed on Studion. See Vita Nicolai Stud. 909 sqq.
3 See the correspondence of Photius. The material is collected in Hergenröther, i. 396 sqq. One abbot at least left his monastery to avoid the conflict. Cp. Vita Euthym. jun. 179.
4 The Patriarchate of Antioch was at this moment vacant, and the communication is addressed to the oekonomos and synkellos (Ep. 2, ed. Val.). Its tenor corresponds to the letter to the Pope.
5 He was elected in April 858. Regino, Chron., s.a. 868, says of him: " regibus ac tyrannis imperavit eisque ac si dominus orbis terrarum auctoritate praefuit."
A man of deeds rather than of words, as one of his admirers says, he was inspired with the idea of the universal authority of the Roman See. The internal troubles in the Carolingian realm enabled him to assert successfully the Papal pretensions in the West; the schism at Constantinople gave him a welcome opportunity of pressing his claims upon the East. But in Photius he found an antagonist, not only incomparably more learned than himself, but equally determined, energetic, and resourceful.
The letter of Photius to the Pope was a masterpiece of diplomacy.1 He enlarged on his reluctance to undertake the burdens of the episcopal office, which was pressed upon him by the Emperor and the clergy with such insistency that he had no alternative but to accept it. He then-in accordance with the usual custom in such inthronistic letters-made a precise statement of the articles of his religion and declared his firm belief in the seven Ecumenical Councils. He concluded by asking the Pope, not for any support or assistance, but simply for his prayers. He abstained from saying anything against his predecessor. But the letter which was sent in the Emperor's name 2 gave a garbled account of the vacation of the Patriarchal throne, and requested the Pope to send legates to attend a synod which should decide some. questions relating to the iconoclastic heresy. Neither the Patriarch nor the Emperor invited the Pope even to express an opinion on recent events, but Nicolas resolved to seize the occasion and assert a jurisdiction which, if it had been accepted, would have annulled the independence of the Church of Constantinople. He despatched two bishops, with instructions to investigate the facts in connexion with the deposition of Ignatius, and to make a report.3 He committed to them letters (dated
1 Ep. 1.
2 This letter is not preserved, but we know its tenor from the reply of Nicolas. It was said of Ignatius that he had withdrawn from the duties of his office voluntarily and had been deposed by a council, and it was suggested that he had neglected (spreverit) his flock and contemned the decrees of Popes Leo and Benedict (Nicol. Ep. 2). The letters were presented by an embassy consisting of Arsaber, an Imperial spatharios, and
three bishops, who bore gifts from the Emperor a gold paten with precious stones (albis, prasinis et hyacinthinis); a gold chalice from which gems hung by golden threads; a gold shield inlaid with gems; a gold-embroidered robe with trees, roses, and sacred scenes, etc. (Vita Nicolai Papae, 147). The envoys reached Rome in summer 860 and were received in audience in S. Maria Maggiore.
3 The legates were Rodoaldus of Porto and Zacharias of Anagni.
September 25, 860) to the Emperor and to Photius. letters have considerable interest as a specimen of Papal diplomacy. The communication to the Emperor opens with the assertion of the primacy of the Roman See and of the principle that no ecclesiastical difficulty should be decided in Christendom1 without the consent of the Roman Pontiff; it goes on to point out that this principle has been violated by the deposition of Ignatius, and that the office has been aggravated by the election of a layman-an election which our holy Roman Church" has always prohibited. On these grounds the Pope announces that he cannot give his apostolic consent to the consecration of Photius until his messengers have reported the facts of the case and have examined Ignatius. He then proceeds to reply to that part of the Emperor's letter which concerned the question of imageworship. The document concludes with the suggestion that Michael should show his devotion to the interests of the Church by restoring to the Roman See the vicariate of Thessalonica and the patrimonies of Calabria and Sicily, which had been withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the Pope by Leo III. The short letter to Photius censures the temerity of his elevation and declines to acknowledge his consecration, unless the Papal messengers, when they return from Constantinople, report favourably on his actions and devotion to the Church.2
The diplomatic intent of these letters could hardly be misapprehended by a novice. The innocent suggestion (put forward as if it had no connexion with the other matters under discussion) that Illyricum and Calabria should be transferred from the See of Constantinople to that of Rome would never have been made if Nicolas had not thought that there was a reasonable chance of securing this accession to the
Pope, in his letter to Michael, expressly reserves the decision to himself ("ac deinde cum nostro praesulatui significatum fuerit,quid de eo agendum sit apostolica sanctione diffiniamus "). The legates had only full powers in regard to the question of imageworship.
1 Nicol. Ep. 2, p. 162: "qualiter. nullius insurgentis deliberationis terminus daretur."
2 The Pope kept a copy of his letter
to the Emperor in the Roman archives. He complains afterwards that in the Greek translation which was read at the Council of 861 it was falsified by interpolations and misrepresentations of the sense. He speaks of such falsi. fications as characteristically Greek ("apud Graecos . familiaris est ista temeritas," Ep. 9), but inadequate knowledge of the language must have been a cause of many mistakes.