Ignatios of Constantinople

St. Ignatius or Ignatios (Greek: Ιγνάτιος), (c. 798 – 23 October 877) was a Patriarch of Constantinople from July 4, 847, to October 23, 858, and from November 23, 867, to his death on October 23, 877.[1] In the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, he is regarded as a saint, with a feast day of October 23.

Saint Ignatius of Constantinople
Hagia Sophia Constantinople 2007 (28).JPG
Ignatios of Constantinople, Northern tympanon, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Patriarch of Constantinople
DiedOctober 23, 877
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church
FeastOctober 23
Ignatios of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Term ended858, 867–877
Personal details
DenominationChalcedonian Christianity


Painting showing the death of Ignatius from the Menologion of Basil II (c. 1000 AD)

Ignatios, originally named Niketas, was a son of the Emperor Michael I Rangabe and Prokopia. His maternal grandfather was Nikephoros I. Although he was still a child, Niketas had been appointed nominal commander of the new corps of imperial guards, the Hikanatoi. He was forcibly castrated (and thus made ineligible for becoming emperor, since the emperor could not be a eunuch) and tonsured after his father's deposition in 813. He founded three monasteries on the Princes' Islands, a favourite place for exiling tonsured members of the imperial house.

Empress Theodora appointed Ignatios, a staunch opponent of Iconoclasm, to succeed Methodios I as patriarch of Constantinople in 847. Ignatios soon became embroiled in the conflict between the Stoudites and the moderates in the Church, the issue being whether or not to depose clergymen who had cooperated with iconoclast policies in the past. Ignatios took the side of the conservative Stoudites and deposed the archbishop of Syracuse, Gregory Asbestas, the leader of the moderate party. Asbestas appealed for redress to Pope Leo IV and thus inaugurated a period of friction in relations between the Roman and Constantinopolitan churches.

A fervent critic of the Caesar Bardas, Ignatios lost support after Emperor Michael III and Bardas removed Theodora from influence in 857. Ignatios was forced to resign in 858 and was replaced by the layman Photios. Those questions were discussed at councils held in Constantinople in 859, and again in 861.[2] When Photios reversed some of his predecessor's policies, Ignatios's supporters appealed to Pope Nicholas I, who at first tried to stay out of the controversy, but then condemned Photios (863). The immediate issues in the conflict were the question of papal precedence over the patriarch, and jurisdiction over newly converted Bulgaria.

In 867 Basil I the Macedonian usurped the throne and, seeking an alliance with Nicholas I and Louis II, Holy Roman Emperor, banished Photios and restored Ignatios on the patriarchal throne. Reinstated, Ignatios refused to yield to the papacy and drew Bulgaria back into the orbit of the Byzantine Church in 870. Since Ignatios and Photios pursued the same policy, the latter was recalled and reinstated as tutor to the emperor's children. When Ignatios died in October 877, Photios was reinstated as patriarch and contributed to Ignatios' sanctification.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dvornik 1948.
  2. ^ Dvornik 1948, pp. 70-90.


  • Dvornik, Francis (1948). The Photian Schism: History and Legend. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Ostrogorsky, George (1956). History of the Byzantine State. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External linksEdit

Titles of Chalcedonian Christianity
Preceded by
Methodios I
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by
Photios I
Preceded by
Photios I
Patriarch of Constantinople