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Benjamin I of Constantinople

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His All-Holiness Benjamin I (Greek: Βενιαμίν A') (1871-1946), was the 266th Successor to the Apostle Andrew and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from (1936-1946).

Early life

He was born in the village of Stypsi in Lesvos in 1871 and later studied at the Theological School of Halki. In 1912 he became Metropolitan of Rhodes, and in 1913, Metropolitan of Silyvria, and then later, Metropolitan of Philippolis. In 1921 he was elected Metropolitan of Nicea and in 1933 as Metropolitan of Iraklion.

Election controversy and patriarchate

Following the death of Patriarch Photius in 1935, his most likely successor was considered the then Metropolitan of Chalcedon, and later Patriarch, Maximus. However, the Prefect of Istanbul eliminated (as was his right) Maximus and Joachim from the election. It is believed this may have occurred as a result of a relationship between Iakovos, Metropolitan of Imbros and Tenedos, who was trying to promote his own candidacy for the Patriarchate and the Turkish Interior Minister and Deputy of Canakkale (of which Imbros and Tenedos were a dependency). However, on January 18, 1936, the Holy Synod instead elected Metropolitan Benjamin by a vote of 7 to 6. The contentious nature of the election would prove to make relations within the Patriarchate difficult.

Despite the unfavorable conditions of his election and the outbreak of World War II, his reign can be characterized as having consolidated the Patriarchate during a difficult period in its history. Also during this time, in 1941 a great fire destroyed the Patriarchal Palace in the Phanar. A new Palace was erected in 1989 by P. Aggelopoulos. Patriarch Benjamin died on February 17, 1946.


Preceded by:
Photius II
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
Maximus V

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