Patriarch of Constantinople; b. Venice; d. San Giorgio Maggiore Abbey, Venice, early 1451. Born into the illustrious Contarini family, he went to England in 1392 (by way of santiago de compostela) to study at Oxford until 1398 or 1399. Having become a master of arts there, he went to Paris (c. 1400), becoming a doctor in theology (1409). He returned to Venice, where, although he was still a subdeacon, Pope gregory xii named him patriarch of Constantinople (Aug. 26, 1409) and conferred on him the title of magister theologiae. Contarini executed various important commissions for the pope:e.g., in October 1414 he was papal nuncio in Germany, and in 1415 he was a member of the delegation at the Council of constance commissioned to negotiate Gregory's abdication. Because there were two patriarchs of Constantinople, both appointed during the western schism, the new pope, martin v, transferred Contarini to the patriarchal see of Alexandria (July 1422); but in 1424 he was restored to his original see. From 1418 to 1427 Contarini was administrator of the diocese of Cittanova nell'Estuario, or Eraclea, near Asolo, Italy. He is buried at the Benedictine Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice. Information on his life and activity derives from letters addressed to him; one collection, written to him by his brothers, covers the period 1398 to 1408; another collection belongs to the period 1428 to 1451.
See Also: constantinople, patriarchate of.
Bibliography: c. eubel et al., Hierarchia Catholica medii (et recentioris) aevi (2d ed. Münster 1913) 1:206–207. g. della santa, "Uomini e fatti dell'ultimo trecento e del primo quattrocento …," Nuovo archivio veneto 32 (1916) 5–99, for the letter collections. p. paschini, "I vescovi di Cittanova d'Istria e di Cittanova nell'Estuario," in Atti e memorie della società istriana di archelogia e storia patria 44 (1932) 242–243. j. ruysschaert, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912–) 13:784–785. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500 (Oxford 1957–59) 1:478.