Gregory III, Patriach of Constantinople
GREGORY III, PATRIACH OF CONSTANTINOPLE
1443 to 1451, apostle of reunion; b. Constantinople, 1400; d. Rome, 1459. Of the family of the Melissenoi, called Mamme, Gregory became a monk (1415–20), superior of the monastery of the Pantocrator, and confessor to the Emperor john viii palaeologus (1425–48), who selected him to represent the patriarch of Alexandria at the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1439–41). At first, strongly opposed to Rome, he countered the unionistic efforts of the Emperor at Ferrara. However, in 1439 he accepted and signed the formula of union and engaged in a campaign to offset the antiunion opposition in Byzantium, particularly that on the part of Mark eugenicus, Metropolitan of Ephesus, and George Scholarius (later Patriarch Gennadius II). He composed the Emperor's letter to the patriarch of Alexandria on the reunion of the Churches, two Apologies against Eugenicus, a commentary on the Creed for the Emperor of Trebizond, and still unedited tracts on the primacy of the pope, the use of unleavened bread, and celestial beatitude. As patriarch of Constantinople, he encountered the hostility of the anti-unionists, particularly among the monks and his own clergy. In 1450 he retired to the Peloponnese Islands and then (1452) to Rome, where he presided over the Greek territories under Venetian control until his death.
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