St. Germanus I of Constantinople

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Germanus I of Constantinople (634-740) was the Patriarch of Constantinople from 715 to 730. According to the monk Theophanes the Confessor (760-818), Germanus was a son of Justinian, who was reportedly involved in the murder of Byzantine Emperor Constans II in order to enthrone Mezezius. Constantine IV, son of Constans II, defeated Mezezius and punished his supporters, executing Justinian in 668 and making Germanus a eunuch, who was then sent to a monastery.

Germanus took part in the 712 Council of Constantinople where decisions favored Monothelitism, abolishing the canons of the Third Council of Constantinople (680-681).  In 715, Germanus was elected Patriarch of Constantinople. He organized a new council propagating Dyothelitism and anathematizing the various leaders of Monothelitism. The major issue of his term would, however, be the emerging heresy of Iconoclasm, propagated by Byzantine Emperor Leo III the Syrian.  Germanus played an important role in defending the use of sacred images during the iconoclastic crisis of his day, suffering exile for his opposition to the emperor, who considered reverence for these images a form of idolatry. Pope Gregory II (term 715–731), praised Germanus’ “zeal and steadfastness”. Germanus was replaced as Patriarch by Anastasios, who was more willing to obey the emperor. Germanus retired to the residence of his family and died a few years later at an advanced age in 740.

 

Writings:

  • Historia Ecclesiastica

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