Gregory V of Constantinople

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Patriarch Gregory V redirects here. It can also refer to Patriarch Gregory V of Alexandria.
Saint Gregory V, Patriarch of Constantinople
Lytras - Execution of Gregory V.jpg
Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople shortly before his execution, as depicted by Nikiphoros Lytras
Ecumenical Patriarch, Hieromartyr
Dimitsana, Ottoman Empire
Died22 April 1821
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Venerated inOrthodox Church
Major shrineAthens
Feast10 April
Controversyelected in 1797 but deported to Mount Athos, Ottoman Empire in 1798, reelected 1806 and exiled to Prince Islands then Mount Athos in 1810, reelected 1818
Gregory V of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
ChurchChurch of Constantinople
In office1797 – 1798
1806 – 1808
1818 – 1821
PredecessorGerasimus III of Constantinople, Callinicus V of Constantinople, Cyril VI of Constantinople
SuccessorNeophytus VII of Constantinople, Callinicus V of Constantinople, Eugenius II of Constantinople

Gregory V (Greek: Γρηγόριος Ε΄, born Γεώργιος Αγγελόπουλος, Georgios Angelopoulos), (1746 – 22 April 1821) was Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 1797 to 1798, from 1806 to 1808 and from 1818 to 1821. He was responsible for much restoration work to the Patriarchal Cathedral of St George, which had been badly damaged by fire in 1738.

At the onset of the Greek War of Independence, as Ethnarch of the Orthodox Millet, or court of law, Gregory V was blamed by Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II for his inability to suppress the Greek uprising. This was in spite of the fact that Gregory had condemned the Greek revolutionary activities in order to protect the Greeks of Constantinople from such reprisals by the Ottoman Turks. After the Greek rebels scored several successes against the Ottoman forces in the Peloponnese, these reprisals came.

During Holy Week in April of 1821, Gregory was taken out of the Patriarchal Cathedral on 22 April 1821 (10 April Old Style), Easter Sunday, directly after celebrating the solemn Easter Liturgy, Gregory was accosted by the Ottomans. He was taken out of the cathedral, still in full Patriarchal vestments, and hanged, being left for two days on the main gate of the Patriarchate compound, all by order of the Sultan.[1] This was followed by a massacre of the Greek population of Constantinople.

The Patriarch's body was eventually interred in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens. He is commemorated by the Greek Orthodox Church as an Ethnomartyr (Greek: Εθνομάρτυρας). In his memory, the Saint Peter Gate, once the main gate of the Patriarchate compound, was welded shut in 1821 and has remained shut ever since.


The brutal execution of Gregory V, especially on the day of Easter Sunday, shocked and infuriated the Greeks, and Orthodox Russia. It also caused protests in the rest of Europe and reinforced the movement of Philhellenism. There are references that during the Greek War of Independence, many revolutionaries engraved on their swords the name of Gregory, seeking revenge.

Dionysios Solomos, in his Hymn to Liberty, which became later the Greek national anthem, also mentions the hanging of the Patriarch in some stanzas.

Greek-Jewish animosity[edit]

According to several accounts, after Gregory's death his body, along with those of other executed prelates, was turned over to the city's Jews, who dragged it through the streets and threw it into the sea.[1][2] This lead to several bloody reprisal attacks in southern Greece by the Greek rebels (the accounts differ on whether the Greeks who did this were forced or volunteered, but the tale spread widely), who regarded the Jews as collaborators of the Turks. This in turn led to the Jews joining the Turks in attacks on Christians in some locations in northern Greece, which fuelled a new wave of anti-Jewish attacks in the south.[2] During the night, the patriarch's corpse was recovered by Greek sailors, who brought it to Odessa.[1] After the funeral, some Greek sailors attacked Jewish shops which had remained open during the ceremony.[3]

In Russia, in Odessa local Greek committed the first Russian Pogrom killing 14 Jews.



  1. ^ a b c Adrian Fortescue (2001). The Orthodox Eastern Church. Gorgias Press LLC. p. 341. ISBN 0-9715986-1-4.
  2. ^ a b Katherine Elizabeth Fleming (2008). Greece--a Jewish History. Princeton University Press. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-691-10272-6.
  3. ^ Alexander Orbach (1980). New Voices of Russian Jewry: A Study of the Russian-Jewish Press of Odessa in the Era of the Great Reforms, 1860-1871. BRILL. pp. 16–17. ISBN 90-04-06175-4.

External links[edit]

Eastern Orthodox Church titles
Preceded by
Gerasimus III
Callinicus V
Cyril VI
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by
Neophytus VII
Callinicus V
Eugenius II