Nicholas III, Patriarch of Constantinople

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Reigned from 1084 to 1111. Of unknown origin, called Grammaticus, Nicholas became a monk in the urban monastery of Prodromos and in 1084 succeeded the deposed Eustratius Garridos as patriarch. His career was devoted to intense administrative and canonical activity. He attempted to regulate the difficult questions, raised by the Metropolitan Leo the Chalcedonian (108486), who opposed the employment of sacred objects for other than a religious purpose as a form of iconoclasm, including the use of the Church's jewels to supplement urgent needs of the imperial treasury as requested by Emperor Alexius I. Nicholas opposed imperial attempts to promote bishoprics to the rank of metropolitan sees, and he frequently intervened in strengthening monastic discipline, as in the case of the Wallachian shepherds on Mt. athos. He condemned the monk Nilus (1094) and the Bogomil heretics of Constantinople, as well as their leader, the physician Basil (1110).

He was probably the author of a monastic Typikon, adapted from that of St. Sabas and attributed to Nicholas of Constantinople, and he laid down canonical responses for baptism, marriage, confession, fasting, and established a rite for the Proscomide, i.e., the preparation of the holy gifts at the beginning of the Liturgy. Despite his original antiunion convictions, in a synod held in September of 1089, and in a letter to Pope Urban, he went on record as favoring a resumption of relations with the papacy, but he proved intransigent in the controverted questions regarding the filioque, unleavened bread, and the Roman primacy.

Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca, ed. j. p. migne, 161 v. (Paris 185766) 119:859884; 127:972984; 131:3948; 138:937950. j. b. pitra, Spicilegium Solesmense, 4 v. (Paris 185258; repr. Graz 1961) 4:487495. v. grumel, Les Regestes des actes du patriarcat de Constantinople (Kadikoi-Bucharest 1947) 1.3:938998. v. grumel, "Un Document canonique inédit du patriarche Nicolas III," Échos d'Orient 39 (194042) 342348. Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 7:986. w. holtzmann, "Die Unionverhandlungen zwischen Kaiser Alexios I und Papst Urban II im Jahre 1089," Byzantinische Zeitschrift 28 (1928) 3867. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich 1959) 660661. r. janin, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables générales 1951) 11.1:614615.

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Nicholas III, Patriarch of Constantinople

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