Joseph of Methone

views updated


Byzantine scholar, prounionist, and bishop; b. John Plusiadenus, probably in Candia, Crete, c. 1429; d. Methone, Aug. 9, 1500. He was well educated in Latin, Greek, and theology, an excellent copyist, and a specialist in ecclesiastical music. He was ordained before 1455. Like most Cretans, John Plusiadenus in his earlier years was a strong anti-unionist, but was converted by studying the acts of the Council of florence, and became one of 12 Byzantine priests who officially supported the union, for which they were generally boycotted as religious and national traitors. In an encyclical and a dialogue he tried in vain to justify the group's position, and eventually they had to ask for financial aid from Venice and the pope. Cardinal bessarion selected Joseph as "head of the Churches" in the Orient and "vice-Protopapas" (c. 146667 to c. 1481). He probably resided in Italy, chiefly in Venice, employed in copying manuscripts from 1472 to c. 1492, when he was elected to the See of Methone with the name of Joseph. He was in Venice again in 1497, in Rome at Christmas 1498, and was about to visit Crete when he was informed of the impending Turkish attack on Methone. He hastened to his see and was killed there, cross in hand, by the onrushing Turks.

Plusiadenus is best known for his consistent support of the union of Florence, notably in his Defensio synodi Florentinae, a patristic defense of the five main elements in the decree of union, written after 1455, and often printed under the name of Gennadius [Patrologia Graeca, ed. J. P. Migne, 161 v. (Paris 185766) 154:11091394]. He also wrote Sermo apologeticus pro synodo Florentina adv. Marcum Ephesium (Patrologia Graeca, 154:102394); Disceptatio de differentiis inter Graecos et Latinos (c. 1460; Patrologia Graeca, 154:9591023); and poetry, sermons, and other minor works, as well as ecclesiastical music.

Bibliography: m. manoussakas, "Recherches sur la vie de Jean Plousiadénos," Revue des études Byzantines, 17 (1959) 2851. l. petit, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350) 8.2:152629. m. candal, "La Apologia," Orientalia Christiana periodica, 21 (1955) 3657.

[j. gill]