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Eugenicus, Mark, Metropolitan of Ephesus


Chief Greek opponent of the union achieved in Florence; b. Constantinople, c. 1392; d. June 23, 1445. Until he was orphaned at the age of 12, he was educated in his father's school, then by John Chortasmenos and the philosopher Gemistos plethon. Mark Eugenicus (baptized Manuel) taught for a time before giving his property to the poor in his 26th year. He then became a monk on the island of Antigone, and took the name of Mark. Forced to return to Constantinople by Turkish troop movements in 1422, he lived in the monastery of the Mangani, where he gained a reputation for learning and sanctity. In view of the Council of florence he was made metropolitan of Ephesus (c. 1436) and procurator of the Patriarchate of Alexandria; he went with the Greeks to Italy, where he first wrote a fervid exhortation to the Pope to eliminate the filioque, and thus angered the Emperor.

Changed to procurator of Jerusalem and then of Antioch, Mark was chosen as one of six Greek speakers; in all but three sessions at Ferrara and Florence he was the sole Greek speaker. In the discussions on purgatory he became increasingly hostile to Latin doctrine. The addition to the Creed he declared to be the cause of the schism and also illegal because it was forbidden by the Council of Ephesus; he proclaimed that the filioque doctrine was opposed to Scripture, the Councils, and the Fathers. He accused the Latins of falsifying the texts of their own Doctors who taught the filioque.

He was the only Greek prelate consistently to oppose union, did not sign the decree of union, and returned to Constantinople in the Emperor's ship. There he became the center of antiunionism. On the election of the unionist Metrophanes as patriarch, Mark escaped to his episcopal see (May 15, 1440), which he had not yet visited. However, he soon set off for Mt. Athos. After being arrested on imperial orders and confined in a monastery of Lemnos for about two years (during a Turkish siege of the island), he was released probably in mid-1422. Returning to Constantinople, he continued his antiunionist propaganda until at the approach of death, he persuaded George Scholarius (later Patriarch gennadius ii) to succeed him in the task. After 14 days of atrocious pain Mark died on June 23, 1445 (or 1444).

Mark was an austere monk and an unflinching champion of orthodoxy as he saw it; he was learned in the Fathers, capable of arguing with the Latins about metaphysics and, strangely, capable also of accusing them of falsifying texts. His prestige assisted his propaganda, which was a skillful blend of serious theological writing and the most blatant argumenta ad hominem to suit the people he was addressing, with no little ridicule and invective of opponents. He had a receptive audience in the ill-educated monks and populace of Constantinople. Consequently, he was the most effective single influence that destroyed the union. Soon after his death he was reputed a saint, and his brother wrote a liturgical office for his feast. He was officially canonized by the Orthodox Greek Church in 1734.

Among his writings are 72 Kephalaia (Chapters) explaining his theology. Three discourses on purgatory, 56 syllogisms against the Latins, with a patristic florilegium, an address to the Pope, and a confession of faith, mark in part his interventions in the Council of Florence. He wrote a letter to George of Methone against the Latin rite, an encyclical and many tracts against the union, as well as liturgical and homiletic, ascetical, dogmatic, and eulogistic treatises.

Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca 160:10801200, contains his works. k. mamonis, "Mark Eugenicus, Life and Work," Theologia 25 (1954) 377404, 521575, in Gr. j. gill, The Council of Florence (New York 1959) l. petit, "Documents relatifs au Concile de Florence," Patrologia orientalis 15.1 (1920) 5168;17.2 (1923) 309522; Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 9.2:196886. v. laurent, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 7:1112. v. grumel, Estudis Franciscans 36 (1925) 425448. g. mercati, Opere minori, 5 v. (Studi e Testi 7680; 193741) 4:101106. Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich 755758.

[j. gill]

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