Michael III, Patriarch of Constantinople
MICHAEL III, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE
Reigned 1170–1178; b. Anchialos. Michael was educated by the archbishop of Anchialos, and after entering the clergy was named sakkelarios, or treasurer. He journeyed to Constantinople on business for the patriarchate and there was made protekdikos, or first advocate, and later hypatos, or chancellor, of the philosophers. In late 1169 he was named patriarch of Constantinople; and he became involved in a controversy over the interpretation of Christ's words "The Father is greater than I," which led to the condemnation of Constantine of Kerkyra and Abbot Irenicus of Batala. He encouraged the jurist balsamon to write his commentary on the canons and opposed the attempts of the Emperor Manuel I Comnenus (1143–80) to bring about a reunification of the Orthodox Church with both Rome and the Armenians. In 1170 a papal delegation was sent to Constantinople by Pope alexander iii, who reduced conditions for reunion to three: recognition of the papal primacy, recognition of the right of appeal to Rome, and inscription of the pope's name in the diptychs. In a synod (1171) Michael made a public response to the legation's offer in a dialogue with the emperor. He violently attacked the pope as no pastor but a sick member of the fold in need of a cure. He said union with the Turks would be preferable to union with the Latins. He likewise repulsed efforts of Theorianus, sent by the emperor to the Armenian Catholicos Nerses IV (1169), and to the Jacobites (1171), to win them to an acceptance of Chalcedonian doctrine. Of Michael's writings, besides the dialogues with the emperor and his letters concerning Armenian affairs, his synodal acts dealing with ecclesiastical discipline are of great interest. A treatise on the liturgy of the presanctified attributed to him by A. Ehrhard belongs to the Patriarch Michael II Oxeites.
Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca 133:223–232; 137:741; 138:85, 210–211. v. laurent, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 10.2:1668–74. b. kotter, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 7:391. Les Regestes des actes du patriarcat de Constantinople 1109–50. v. grumel, Échos d'Orient 29 (1930) 257–264, filioque. v. laurent, ibid. 33 (1934) 309–315. a. papadopouluskerameus, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 8 (1899) 665–666.