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Arsenius Autorianus, Patriarch of Constantinople


Patriarch 1255 to 1259 and 1261 to 1266, surnamed Autoreianos; b. probably Constantinople, c. 1200; d. 1273. He was baptized George, but changed his name to Gennadius as a monk; he became abbot of the monastery of Oxeia on the island of Prinkipo. As Arsenius, he was chosen by Theodore II Lascaris as an emissary to Rome (1254) and on his return was named patriarch of Nicaea (1255). Despite his distrust of the emperor, he permitted himself to be used by the latter to crown (1259) michael viii palaeologus emperor of Byzantium disregarding claims of the legitimate heir to the throne, John IV Lascaris. Tormented by his conscience, he resigned as patriarch of Nicaea; but under the prompting of Michael VIII he accepted the patriarchate of Constantinople (1261). When Michael VIII had John IV, the legitimate heir to the throne, blinded, Arsenius excommunicated the emperor; and when Michael refused to abdicate, Arsenius was dethroned and exiled to the island of Proconnesus. Arsenius declared his deposition and the nomination of the new Patriarch Joseph (126775), and spoke out against misdeeds that were bringing about the ruin of the Church. His many followers among the clergy and laity caused a crisis in the Byzantine Church by provoking the Schism of the Arsenites. Arsenius was exonerated and given a pension of 300 byzants, but he spent the remaining years of his life in exile on Proconnesus. Of his writing, a number of Patriarchal Acts and a Testament have been preserved. He is credited with a Euchelaion Liturgy (last anointing), which is probably the result of a MS misunderstanding. He seems to have been the author of an Easter Sunday song and several poetic canons.

Bibliography: h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich 702703. g. ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State, tr. j. hussey 395, 411, 435. l. petit, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 1.2:199294. l. brÉhier, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques 4:750751. a. a. vasiliev, History of the Byzantine Empire (2d Eng. ed. Madison, WI 1952) 544661. v. laurent, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 30 (192930) 489496. m. jugie, Échos d'Orient 26 (1927) 416419, Extreme Unction. v. grumel, ibid. 33 (1934) 269270.

[g. luznycky]

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