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was gradually weakened, until only five bishops remained who supported the cause of Ignatius.
The quarrel between Nicolaus and Photius of course separated the Eastern and Western Churches' for the time. Photius wrote to Nicolaus to endeavour to conciliate his favour, but without effect. Photius was anathematized, and deposed by Nicolaus (a. d. 863) ; and a counter anathema and sentence of deposition was pronounced against Nicolaus by a council assembled at Constantinople by Photius. The schism, as neither party had power to carry its sentence into effect, continued until the actual deposition of Photius.
Of the conduct of Photius as patriarch, in matters not connected with the struggle to maintain his position, it is not easy to judge. That he aided Bardas, who was elevated to the dignity of Caesar, in his efforts for the revival of learning, perhaps suggested those efforts to him, is highly probable from his indisputable love of literature. (Theoph. Contin. DeMich. Theophili Filio, c. 26.) That he possessed many kindly dispositions is indicated by his letters. The charges of the forgery of letters, and of cruelty in his struggles with the party of Ignatius, are, there is reason to believe, too true ; but as almost all the original sources of information respecting his character and conduct are from parties hostile to his claims, we cannot confidently receive their charges as true in all their extent.
The murder of Caesar Bardas (a. d. 866 or 867), by the emperor's order [michael III.], was speedily followed by the assassination of Michael himself (a. d. 867) and the accession of his colleague and murderer Basil I. (the Macedonian) [basilius I. macedo]. Photius had consecrated Basil as the colleague of Michael ; but after the murder of the latter he refused to admit him to the communion, reproaching him as a robber and a murderer, and unworthy to partake of the sacred elements. Photius was immediately banished to a monastery, and Ignatius restored : various papers which the servants of Photius were about to conceal in a neighbouring reed-bed were seized, and afterwards produced against Photius, first in the senate of Constantinople, and afterward at the council held against him. This hasty change in the occupants of the patriarchate had been too obviously the result of the change of the imperial dynasty to be sufficient of itself. But the imperial power had now the same interest as the Western Church in the deposition of Photius. A council (recognised by the Romish Church as the eighth oecumenical or fourth Constantinopolitan) was therefore summoned A. d. 869, at which the deposition of Photius and the restoration of Ignatius were confirmed. The cause was in fact prejudged by the circumstance that Ignatius took his place as patriarch at the commencement of the council. Photius, who appeared before the council, and his partizans were anathematized and stigmatized with the most opprobrious epithets. He subsequently acquired the favour of Basil, but by what means is uncertain ; for we can hardly give credence to the strange tale related by Nicetas (ibid.), who ascribes it to the forgery and interpretation by Photius of a certain genealogical document containing a prophecy of Basil's exaltation. It is certain, however, not only that he gained the favour of the emperor, but that he soon acquired a complete ascendancy over him ; he was appointed tutor to the sons of Basil, had apartments in the
palace assigned to him ; and, on the death of Ignatius, about a. d. 877 [ignatius, No. 3], was immediately restored to the patriarchal throne. With writers of the Ignatian party and of the Romish Church, this restoration is, of course, nothing less than a new irruption of the wolf into the sheepfold. According to Nicetas he commenced his patriarchate by beating, banishing, and iii various ways afflicting the servants and household of his defunct rival, and by using ten thousand arts against those who objected to his restoration as uncanonical and irregular. Some he bribed by gifts and honours and by translation to wealthier or more eligible sees than those they occupied ; others he terrified by reproaches and accusations, which, on their embracing his party, were speedily and altogether dropped. That, in the corrupt state of the Byzantine empire and church, something of this must have happened at such a crisis, there can be little doubt ; though there can be as little doubt that these statements are much exaggerated.
It is probable that one great purpose of Basil in restoring Photius to the patriarchate was to do away with divisions in the church, for it is not to be supposed that Photius was without his partisans. But to effect this purpose he had to gain over the Western Church. Nicolaus had been succeeded by Hadrian II., and he by John VIII. (some reckon him to be John IX.), who now occupied the papal chair. John was more pliant than Nicolaus, and Basil a more energetic prince than the dissolute Michael; the pope therefore yielded to the urgent entreaties of a prince whom it would have been dangerous to disoblige ; recognised Photius as lawful patriarch, and excomimmi-vcated those who refused to hold communion with him. But the recognition was on condition that he should resign his claim to the ecclesiastical superiority of the Bulgarians, whose archbishops and bishops were claimed as subordinates by both Rome and Constantinople ; and is said to have been accompanied by strong assertions of the superiority of the Roman see. The copy of the letter in which John's consent was given, is a re-translation from the Greek, and is asserted by Romish writers to have been falsified by Photius and his party. It is obvious, however, that this charge remains to be proved ; and that we have no more security that the truth lies on the side of Rome than on that of Constantinople. The ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Bulgaria was no new cause of dissension : it had been asserted as strongly by the pious Ignatius as by his successor. (Comp. Joan. VIII. Papae Epistol. 78, apud ConciL p. 63, &c.) Letters from the pope to the clergy of Constantinople and to Photius himself were also sent, but the extant copies of these are said to have been equally corrupted by Photius. Legates were sent by the pope, and even the copies of their Commonitorium, or letter of instruction, are also said to be falsified ; but these charges need to be carefully sifted. Among the asserted additions is one in which the legates are instructed to declare the council of a. d. 869 (reputed by the Romish Church to be the eighth oecumenical or fourth Constantinopolitan), at which Photius had been deposed, to be null and void. Another council, which the Greeks assert to be the eighth oecumenical one, but which the R,omanists reject, was held at Constantinople a. d. 879. The papal legates were present, but Photius presided.