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Alexius the Studite, Patriarch of Constantinople


Abbot at the monastery Studion from 1025 to 1043, (hence "the Studite"); birth and death dates unknown. Alexius was appointed patriarch by Emperor Basil II on the latter's death bed without the sanction or knowledge of the metropolitan; he was immediately enthroned on Dec. 15, 1025. As his appointment was not in accordance with Canon Law, his entire reign was marred by arguments and altercations. In 1037 Alexius withstood the attempts of John, brother of the reigning Emperor Michael IV, to remove him from the patriarchal throne by asserting that his removal would automatically bring about the removal of the bishops he had consecrated and the priests he had ordained. When John, eager to secure the patriarchy for himself, persisted in efforts to unseat him, Alexius threatened to declare his coronation of Michael IV null and void, and thus he successfully maintained his throne.

The importance of his patriarchate lies in his administrative policies, which were marked in numerous edicts, synods, and disciplinary laws. He concerned himself extensively with the doctrines of the Monophysites and the Messalians and with Byzantine marriage laws; but he showed weakness by not opposing the second and third marriages of Empress Zoë, daughter of Constantine VIII; these marriages were against Canon Law and the tradition of his monastery. In 1034, Alexius founded a monastery patterned after those of the Studite Order and devoted to the Blessed Virgin; it was later named after him.

Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca, ed. j. p. migne, 161 v. (Paris 185766) 119:744748, 827850. t. balsamon, ibidem 137:1245. s. pÉtridÈs, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 2:398. k. baus, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 1:328. É. amann, Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours, eds., a. fliche and v. martin (Paris 1935) 7:136138. g. ficker, Erlasse des Patriarchen von Konstantinopel Alexios Studites (Kiel 1911).

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