Latin Patriarch of Constantinople

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The Latin Patriarch of Constantinople was an office established as a result of Crusader activity in the Near East. The title should not be confused with that of the (Orthodox) Patriarch of Constantinople, an office which existed before and after.

Before the East-West Schism in 1054, the Christian Church within the borders of the ancient Roman Empire was effectively ruled by five patriarchs (the "Pentarchy"): the Bishop of Rome (who rarely used the title "Patriarch") and those of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch.

In the West the Bishop of Rome was recognized as having superiority over the other Patriarchs, while in the East, the Patriarch of Constantinople gradually came to occupy a leading position. In the East the Pope was generally considered first among equals, but not a direct superior.[citation needed]. The sees of Rome and Constantinople were often at odds with one another, just as the Greek and Latin Churches as a whole were often at odds both politically and in things ecclesiastical. There were complex cultural currents underlying these difficulties, including the fact that in the West feudal models began to influence the way of viewing relations within the Church.[citation needed] The tensions led in 1054 to a serious rupture between the Greek East and Latin West called the East-West schism, which while not in many places absolute, still dominates the ecclesiastical landscape.

In 1204, the Fourth Crusade invaded, seized and sacked Constantinople, and established the Latin Empire. This was not the doing of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. Initially he spoke out against the fourth crusade. In writing to his legate the pope said, in part "How, indeed, is the Greek church to be brought back into ecclesiastical union and to a devotion for the Apostolic See when she has been beset with so many afflictions and persecutions that she sees in the Latins only an example of perdition and the works of darkness, so that she now, and with reason, detests the Latins more than dogs?"[1][2]

However the popes accepted the acts of the accompanying Latin clergy who set up a Latin Patriarchate subservient in the Western manner to the Pope. The pope recognised these "Latin" sees at the Fourth Council of the Lateran.[3] Furthermore those Orthodox bishops left in their place were made to swear an oath of allegiance to the pope.[4]

When the last Latin emperor Baldwin II fled from Constantinople he was well received in Rome by Pope Urban IV who promised him support to regain the throne. This threat of continued support prompted the new Greek emperor to seek out a reunion. Understanding the situation of 1204 helps with the context of the reunion council. [5]

By establishing communion with the Latin Patriarchs the Papacy in effect made official their position within the Roman Catholic Church. This act was part of a more general picture in which the Crusaders on the one hand established Latin Kingdoms officially acknowledged by the Roman Catholic Church, in the Middle East and in Greece and the Greek Islands, and also in parts of the Balkans. Included were a similar array of Latin episcopal sees. The Latin Empire in Constantinople was eventually defeated and dispossessed by a resurgent Byzantium in 1261, although the Latin Patriarchate persisted as a titular office with varying vigour, based in Rome at the St. Peter's Basilica.[citation needed]

On 8 February 1314, Pope Clement V united the Patriarchate with the episcopal see of Negroponte (Chalcis), hitherto a suffragan of the Latin Archbishopric of Athens, so that the patriarchs could once more have a territorial diocese on Greek soil and exercise a direct role as the head of the Latin clergy in what remained of Latin Greece.[6]

For a time, like many ecclesiastical offices in the West, it had rival contenders who were supporters or protégés of the rival popes.[citation needed] As to the title Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, this was the case at least from 1378 to 1423. Thereafter the office continued as an honorific title, during the later centuries attributed to a leading clergyman in Rome, until it ceased to be assigned after 1948 and was finally abolished in 1964.[citation needed]

A Vicariate Apostolic of Istanbul (until 1990, Constantinople) has existed from 1742 into the present day.

List of Latin Patriarchs of Constantinople[edit]

This title was officially abolished in 1965.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Phillips, J., (2009) Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades (Vintage Books; London), p195.
  2. ^ Pope Innocent III - To Peter, Cardinal Priest of the Title of St. Marcellus, Legate of the Apostolic See. However, on the way to attack Constantinople the crusaders attacked another Christian city, Zara, and received papal absolution for this. de Villehardouin, G., (1908) Memoirs or Chronicle of The Fourth Crusade and The Conquest of Constantinople (J.M. Dent; London), p26.
  3. ^ Styled by Catholics as the Twelfth Ecumenical Council.
  4. ^ Papadakis, A., (1994) The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy, (St Vladimir’s Seminary Press; Crestwood, NY), p204.
  5. ^ Herrin, J., (2007) Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire (Princeton University Press; Princeton, NJ), pp. 300–1.
  6. ^ Loenertz 1966, pp. 266–267.
  7. ^ Wolff, Robert Lee (1954). "Politics in the Latin Patriarchate of Constantinople, 1204-1261". Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 8. Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University. pp. 225–303.  (JSTOR)
  8. ^ Hazlitt, W. Carew (1860). History of the Venetian republic: her rise, her greatness, and her civilisation, Vol. IV.. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 65, Cornhill. p. Chapter 22.  Contarini was at the Council of Constance in November 1414.

Sources[edit]