Theodore II of Constantinople

Theodore II Eirenikos (Greek: Θεόδωρος Β' Εἰρηνικός), (? – 31 January 1216), also known as Theodore Kopas or Koupas (Κωπάς/Κουπάς),[1] was a high-ranking Byzantine official and chief minister during most of the reign of the Byzantine emperor Alexios III Angelos (r. 1195–1203). After the fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade, he fled to the Empire of Nicaea, where he became a monk and served as Patriarch of Constantinople in exile in 1214–1216.

Theodore II of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Seal of Theodore Eirenikos.jpg
Seal of Theodore Eirenikos when he was hypatos ton philosophon, ca. 1208–1214
ChurchChurch of Constantinople
In office28 September 1213 – 31 January 1216
PredecessorMichael IV of Constantinople
SuccessorMaximus II of Constantinople
Personal details
Died31 January 1216

Political careerEdit

An intelligent, well-spoken and educated man, he rose to power following the disgrace and exile of Alexios' hitherto favourite official, Constantine Mesopotamites, in autumn 1197. Eirenikos succeeded Mesopotamites in his confidential and influential palace post of epi tou kanikleiou (secretary of the imperial inkpot), and as chief minister. He also held the senior court rank of pansebastos sebastos.[1][2] According to the account of the contemporary historian Niketas Choniates, Eirenikos feared that he would share Mesopotamites' fate, and therefore exercised his power with great restraint. He was anxious not to displease the hereditary aristocracy that dominated the imperial court and that had undermined Mesopotamites' position. To that effect he also neglected to undertake any of the reforms that the Empire desperately needed.[3]

Exile and church careerEdit

In April 1204, Constantinople fell to the soldiers of the Fourth Crusade, and like many Byzantine leaders, Theodore fled the city and sought refuge in Asia Minor. There Theodore was tonsured as a monk.[1] In 1209, the newly proclaimed Nicaean emperor, Theodore I Laskaris, named him to the post of chartophylax of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, re-established in Nicaean exile. Laskaris also awarded him with the title hypatos ton philosophon,[1] a prestigious title given to the head of the faculty of philosophy in Constantinople.[4]

On 28 September 1214, Eirenikos was elected as Patriarch of Constantinople by the patriarchal synod. His tenure was marked by his open confrontation with the Catholic Church, especially over the legitimacy of the Latin Patriarchate of Constantinople and of Catholic control over the Greek Orthodox populations ruled by Latin princes.[5]

Theodore Eirenikos died on 31 January 1216.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Vougiouklaki (2003), Chapter 1
  2. ^ Brand (1968), pp. 143, 146–147
  3. ^ Brand (1968), p. 147
  4. ^ Kazhdan (1991), p. 964
  5. ^ a b Vougiouklaki (2003), Chapter 2


  • Brand, Charles M. (1968). Byzantium Confronts the West, 1180–1204. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. LCCN 67-20872. OCLC 795121713.
  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
  • Vougiouklaki, Penelope (2003). "Theodore II Irenikos". Encyclopedia of the Hellenic World, Eastern Mediterranean. Foundation of the Hellenic World. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
Eastern Orthodox Church titles
Preceded by Patriarch of Constantinople
In exile at Nicaea

Succeeded by