Metochites, George

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Archdeacon of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and Byzantine theological polemicist; b. c. 1250; d. in exile, c. 1328. A well-educated civil official, Metochites supported the policy of the Patriarch john xi beccus and the Emperor michael viii palaeologus in their efforts to achieve union with Rome. He served on ambassadorial missions to Rome under Popes Gregory X, Innocent V, and John XXI, participated in the union Council of Lyons (1274), and wrote numerous tracts in support of the theological alignment with the Western Church. During the restoration of the Orthodox separatism under Emperor andronicus ii palaeologus in 1283, he was imprisoned and exiled for the remainder of his life, despite the fact that his son, Theodore Metochites, became first minister of the Byzantine Empire in 1316.

Together with John Beccus and Theodore Meliteniotes, George Metochites was one of the most prolific writers favoring the union. Besides popularizing the works of Beccus, he wrote polemical tracts against Maximus Planudes (Patrologia Graeca, ed. j. p. migne. 141:12751308), Manuel Moschopulus (Patrologia Graeca 141: 13071406), and Gregory II of Cyprus (unedited). His five-book treatise on the procession of the Holy Spirit is still unedited. He wrote also a Historia dogmatica on the origin and development of the schism between Rome and the East after 1274, which is most valuable for information on events in his own lifetime. He is also credited with the composition of Typikon on Faith, and the treatises On Virtue On Asceticism, and On the Soul, which actually belong to Nicephorus Blemmydes.

Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca, ed. j. p. migne (Paris 185766) 141:12751418. v. laurent, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiberg 195765) 4: 703704. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich 1959) 684. d. j. geanakoplos, Emperor Michael Palaeologus and the West, 12581282 (Cambridge, Mass.1959) 287291. s. salaville, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., (Paris 190350) 6.1:123839; Catholicisme 4:186061. a. mai, Nova Patrum bibliotheca (Rome) 8.2:1277; 10:319370.

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