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348

PHOTIUS.

in his favour: natural adaptation, diligence, wealth, which enabled him to form an all-comprehensive library; and more than all these, the love of glory, which induced him to pass whole nights without sleep, that he might have time for reading. And when the time came (which ought never to have arrived) for him to intrude himself into the church, he became a most diligent reader of theological works." (Nicet. Vita Ignatii apud Concil. vol. viii. ed. Labbe.)

It must not, however, be supposed that Photius had wholly neglected the study of theology be­fore his entrance on an ecclesiastical life: so far was this from being the case, that he had read and carefully analysed, as hi3 Bibliotheca attests, the chief works of the Greek ecclesiastical writers of all ages, so that his attainments in sacred li­terature might have shamed many a professional divine. There is not sufficient evidence to support the statement of Baronius, that Photius was an eunuch.

Thus highly connected, and with a mind so richly endowed and highly cultivated, Photius obtained high advancement at the Byzantine court He held the dignity of a Proto-a-Secretis or chief jus­tice (Codin. De Officiis CP. p. 36, ed. Bonn) ; and, if we trust the statement of Nicetas David (/. c.), of Protospatharius, a name originally de­noting the chief sword-bearer or captain of the guards, but which became, in later times, a merely nominal office. (Codin. ibid. p. 33.) To these dig­nities may be added, on the authority of Anasta-sius Bibliothecarius (Concil. Octavi Hist, apud Concil. vol. viii. col. 962, ed. Labbe), that of se­nator ; but this is perhaps only another title for the office of " Proto-a-Secretis." (Gretser. et Goar. Not. in Codin. p. 242.)

Though his official duties would chiefly confine him to the capital, it is probable that he was oc­casionally employed elsewhere. It was during an embassy " to the Assyrians" (a vague and unsuit­able term, denoting apparently the court of the Caliphs or of some of the other powers of Upper Asia) that he read the works enumerated in his BibliotJieca^ and wrote the critical notices of them which that work contains, a striking instance of the energy and diligence with which he continued to cultivate literature in the midst of his secular duties. Of the date of this embassy, while en­gaged in which he must have resided several "years at the Assyrian court, as well of the other incidents of his life, before his elevation to the patriarchate of Constantinople, we have no means of judging. He could hardly have been a young man at the time he became patriarch.

The patriarchal throne of Constantinople was occupied in the middle of the ninth century by Ignatius [!gnatius, No. 3], who had the mis­fortune to incur the enmity of some few bishops and monks, of whom the principal was Gregory Asbestus, an intriguing bishop, whom he had de­posed from the see of Syracuse in Sicily [GRE-gorius, No. 35], and also of Bardas, who was all-powerful at the court of his nephew Michael, then a minor. [michael III.] Ignatius had ex­communicated Bardas, on a rumour of his being guilty of incest, and Bardas, in retaliation, threat­ened the patriarch with deposition. It was im­portant from the high character of Ignatius, that whoever was proposed as his successor should be able to compete with him in reputation, and the

PHOTIUS.

choice of Bardas fell upon Photius, who had al­ready given countenance to Gregory and the other opponents of the patriarch. Ignatius was de­posed, and Photius elected in his place. The latter was a layman, and, according to some statements, was under excommunication for supporting Gre­gory ; but less than a week served, according to Nicetas David (ibid.), for his rapid passage through all the needful subordinate gradations: the first day witnessed his conversion from a layman to a monk ; the second day he was made reader ; the third day, sub-deacon ; the fourth, deacon ; the fifth, presbyter; and the sixth, Christmas-day A. d. 858, beheld his promotion to the patriarchate, the highest ecclesiastical dignity in the empire. Nicetas (ibid.) states that his office was irregularly committed to him by secular hands. Photius himself, however, in his apologetic epistle to Pope Nico-laus I. (apud Baron. Annal. ad ann. 859, § Ixi. &c.), states that the patriarchate was pressed upon his acceptance by a numerous assembly of the metro­politans, and of the other clergy of his patriarchate : nor is it likely that the Byzantine court would fail to secure a sufficient number of subservient, bishops, to give to the appointment every possible appearance of regularity.

A consciousness that the whole transaction was violent and indefensible, whatever care might be taken to give it the appearance of regularity, made it desirable for the victorious party to obtain from the deposed patriarch a resignation of his office; but Ignatius was a man of too lofty a spirit to consent to his own degradation, and his pertina­cious refusal entailed severe persecution both on himself and his friends. [ignatius, No. 3.] Pho­tius, however, retained his high dignity ; the se­cular power was on his side ; the clergy of the patriarchate, in successive councils, confirmed his appointment, though we are told by Nicetas David (ibid.) that the metropolitans exacted from him a written engagement that he would treat his deposed rival with filial reverence, and follow his advice ; and even the legates of the Holy See were induced to side with him, a subserviency for which they were afterwards deposed by the Pope Nicolaus I-The engagement to treat Ignatius with kindness was not kept; in such a struggle its observance could hardly be expected; but how far the se­verities inflicted on him are to be ascribed to Pho­tius cannot now be determined. The critical position of the latter would be likely to aggravate any disposition which he might feel to treat his rival harshly ; for Nicolaus, in a council at Rome, embraced the side of Ignatius, and anathematized Photius and his adherents ; various enemies rose up against him among the civil officers as well as the clergy of the empire ; and the minds of many, including, if we may trust Nicetas (ibid.), the kin­dred and friends of Photius himself, were shocked by the treatment of the unhappy Ignatius. To add to his troubles, the Caesar Bardas appears to have had disputes with him, either influenced by the natural jealousy between the secular and eccle­siastical powers, or, perhaps, disappointed at not finding in Photius the subserviency he had anti­cipated. The letters of Photius addressed to Bardas (Epistolae, 3, 6, 8) contain abundant complaints of the diminution of his authority, of the ill-treat­ment of those for whom he was interested, and of the inefficacy of his own intercessions and complaints. However, the opposition among his own clergy

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