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Pyrrhus I, Patriarch of Constantinople


Dec. 20, 638, to Sept. 29, 641, restored Jan. 89, 654, to June 1, 654; d. Constantinople, May 1923, 655. A key figure in the byzantine church's controversy over monothelitism, Pyrrhus was archimandrite of Chrysopolis when he succeeded his friend Patriarch sergius i in the Patriarchate of constantinople. Like Sergius, he espoused the Monothelitic Ecthesis of Emperor hera-clius and wrote to Pope John IV in support of Monothelitism (Patrologia Latina 87:1205). Because of alleged complicity in court intrigue, he was forced by Emperor constans ii to leave Constantinople in 641, and he escaped to Carthage. He was replaced as patriarch by Paul II; Pope Theodore I approved the deposition of Pyrrhus, but admonished that it should have been canonical (PL 87:81). In July 645, in the presence of the exarch of North Africa, Gregory, Pyrrhus held a disputatio with maximus the confessor (Patrologia Graeca 91:287354), who had succeeded him at Chrysopolis and who was a resolute opponent of Monothelitism. Then, hoping for Gregory's help in his attempt to be restored to his see, Pyrrhus declared himself converted, went to Rome with Maximus, condemned the Ecthesis, and was received by Pope Theodore with the honors of a patriarch. However, after Gregory's death (648) Pyrrhus was induced to recant his recantation. Theodore thereupon deposed and anathematized him; this was confirmed by Pope Martin I (649) and later by Pope Agatho (680) and the sixth general council, Constantinople III. When Patriarch Paul died, Dec. 26, 653 (Pope Martin I had already been condemned), Pyrrhus was restored as patriarch for a brief period before his death.

Bibliography: j. d. mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio (Graz 1960) 10:859877; 11:276, 557572. v. grumel, Les Regestes des actes du patriarcat de Constantinople (Kadikoi-Bucharest 193247) 1:118, 121. k. krumbacher, Geschichte der byzatinischen Literatur (Munich 1897) 6064. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich 1959) 109, 295, 432, 439. g. ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State (Oxford 1956; New Brunswick NJ 1957). o. volk, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 8:908909.

[t. p. halton]

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