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Patriarch Anastasius of Constantinople

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Anastasios was the patriarch of Constantinople from 730 to 754. The patriarchate of Constantinople is a high position in the eastern branch of Christianity. He succeeded Germanos I (715-730). Anastasios was heavily involved in the controversy over icons (images). His opinion of icons changed twice. First he opposed them, then he favored them, and finally he opposed them again.

Background

In 726 Emperor Leo III published an edict forbidding the use of images in the Church. His soldiers consequently removed images from churches throughout the Byzantine Empire.

Germanos, the patriarch of Constantinople, protested the edict. He wrote a letter appealing to Pope Gregory II in Rome in 729. Emperor Leo deposed Germanos as patriarch soon afterwards. Pope Gergory opposed Leo and urged him to retract the edict, which Leo refused to do.

Anastasios's Patriarchate

Leo appointed Anastasios patriarch of Constantinople in 730. He willingly sided with the emperor on the question of icons.

Pope Gregory died in 731. His successor, Gregory III, continued the campaign to retain icons, and wrote his own letter to Leo, exhorting him to change his policy. The controversy raged for years.

In 741 Leo died. His son Constantine V became emperor. Soon afterwards, a man named Artabasdos assumed the rule of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire. Artabasdos was Leo's son-in-law and his chamberlain, yet he favored the use of icons. With the support of many clergymen and lay people, Artabasdos declared himself the "Protector of the Holy Icons". He convinced the patriarch Anastasios to crown him emperor. Anastasios now switched sides and became an ardent defender of icons, which Artabasdus reinstalled in the churches. Anastasios excommunicated Constantine V and declared him a heretic and a denier of Jesus.

Constantine in the meantime returned to his ancestral home in the Isaurian Mountains. He gathered the Asian segment of his army, who were all iconoclasts, and marched to Constantinople in 743. He defeated Artabastos and began to take bitter vengeance on his enemies. He had Artabastos executed. He removed the icons from the churches once again.

His treatment of Anastasios was horrendous. First he had him whipped and blinded and then he paraded him through the streets in shame.[1] He forced Anastasios to revert to his former opinion against idols, and then restored him to his position as patriarch.

Anastasios lived until 754.

Bibliography

Notes
  1. Milman 1867, p. 370
References
  • Milman, Henry Hart (1867). History of Latin Christianity: including that of the popes to the pontificate of Nicolas V. (1867 ed.). J. Murray.  - Total pages: 443
Preceded by
Germanos I
Patriarch of Constantinople
730–754
Succeeded by
Constantine II
ru:Анастасий (Патриарх Константинопольский)

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