Athanasius I, Patriarch of Constantinople
ATHANASIUS I, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE
Patriarch 1289 to 1293, 1304 to 1310; b. Adrianople, 1230; d. Constantinople, Oct. 28, 1310. He was baptized Alexius and took the name Athanasius on becoming a monk at Thessalonica, whence he immigrated to the monastery of Esphigmenou on Mt. athos. He undertook a journey to the Holy Land and became a hermit at St. Lazarus on Mt. Galesios, but he soon returned to Mt. Athos. His opposition to the reunion Council of Lyons (1274) and to John Beccus forced him to return to Mt. Galesios and later to go to Ganos in Thrace, where he founded a monastery. Probably during his stay at Mt. Galesios he was ordained; he was selected patriarch of Constantinople by Emperor andronicus ii (1289), and set about stabilizing ecclesiastical discipline. He passed severe measures for the reform of the clergy; despite his own travels, he restrained wandering monks and bound the bishops to residence in their own dioceses. In 1293 reaction against the severity of Athanasius was such that the emperor had to accept his resignation (October 13). Athanasius retired to a monastery of Xerolophus, but he had to be recalled because of the demands of the people. He expelled the Franciscans from Constantinople in 1307 and early in 1310 resigned a second time. He died a short while later in the monastery of Xerolophos. Most of the writings of Athanasius are unedited; 126 letters concerned with the ecclesiastical discipline are known, and he is credited with two catechetical lectures and a canon or hymn in honor of the Mother of God (Theotokaria ).
Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca, ed. j. p. migne (Paris 1857–66) 142:471–528. Acta Sanctorum Aug 1:169–175. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich 1959) 692. k. baus, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 1:981. h. delehaye, Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire 17 (1897) 47–74. r. guilland, Études sur l'histoire et sur l'art de Byzance. Mélanges Charles Diehl, v.1 (Paris 1930) 121–140.