John VIII of Constantinople

John VIII Xiphilinos (Greek: Ἰωάννης Ηʹ Ξιφιλῖνος; c. 1010 – 2 August 1075), a native of Trebizond, was a Byzantine intellectual,[1] jurist,[1] and patriarch of Constantinople from 1064 to 1075. He was the uncle of John Xiphilinus, the Epimator. He is considered "an innovator in the field of the methodology of jurisprudential research."[2]

John Xiphilinos
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
ChurchEastern Orthodox Church
In office1 January 1064 – 2 August 1075
PredecessorConstantine Leichoudes
SuccessorCosmas I
Personal details
Bornc. 1010
(modern-day Trabzon, Turkey)
Died2 August 1075
(modern-day Istanbul, Turkey)
EducationUniversity of Constantinople
Feast dayAugust 30
Venerated inEastern Orthodoxy
Philosophy career
InstitutionsUniversity of Constantinople
Notable studentsMichael Psellos
Main interests

Early careerEdit

John Xiphilinos was born in Trebizond. He pursued studies at the University of Constantinople and eventually became nomophylax of its School of Law. Later he became a monk and was eventually selected by Emperor Constantine X Doukas (1059–67) to succeed Constantine Leichoudes as the patriarch of Constantinople.


In 1072 John VIII presided over an assembly of metropolitans and archbishops at the oratory of Saint Alexius in which the question of the election of bishops to vacant sees was discussed. Michael Keroularios had forbidden metropolitans who were resident in Constantinople from participating in such elections. John, however, recognized that metropolitans sometimes had to remain for a long period in the capital due to ecclesiastical business or illness. The assembly with John's consent decreed that metropolitans who gave the patriarch advance notification of their intent could again vote while resident in Constantinople.[3] After his death his remains were buried at the monastery of Angourion on 2 August 1075.[4]

John VIII wrote a hagiography of Saint Eugenios of Trebizond.[5]

John VIII has been canonized in the Eastern Orthodox Church and his feast day is celebrated on August 30.


  1. ^ a b Xiphilinos, John VIII – Oxford Reference
  2. ^ Basil Tatakis, Byzantine Philosophy, Hackett Publishing, 2003, p. 147.
  3. ^ N. Oikonomides, "Un décret synodal inédit du Patriarche Jean VIII Xiphilin", REB 18 (1960), p. 56.
  4. ^ Raymond Janin, Les Églises Et Les Monastères Des Grands Centres Byzantins, Institut français d'études byzantines, 1975, p. 27.
  5. ^ William Miller, Trebizond: The last Greek Empire of the Byzantine Era: 1204-1461, 1926 (Chicago: Argonaut, 1969), p. 11

External linksEdit

Eastern Orthodox Church titles
Preceded by Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by