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Theoleptus I of Constantinople

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His All-Holiness Theoleptus I of Constantinople was the Patriarch of Constantinople from 1513 to 1522. During his reign he was active making territorial adjustments within the patriarchal territories and defending the church from Ottoman policies.


Little is known of his early life. He was originally from Crete or Hepirus. Theoleptus served under Patr. Pachomius I who helped him become the Metropolitan of Ioannina. After Pachomius died, Metr. Theoleptus paid the appropriate tax and obtained his patriarchal veratium from the Ottoman authorities before he was canonically elected in 1513 to the patriarchal throne by the Holy Synod.

Patr. Theoleptus established new metropolia of Adrianopolis, Samos, and among the countries of the Danube. He also sent the monk and scholar Maximus the Greek to the Church of Russia where he was active in translating church texts. Patr. Theoleptus also fought against papal propaganda in Latin occupied areas of Crete and Vlachia.

He intervened with the Ottoman Sultan Selim to retain possession by the Christians of the Holy Sepulchre after the Turks defeated the Mamelukes in Jerusalem in 1517. In 1520, Patr. Theoleptus successfully intervened with Selim in preventing the enforced conversion of the Christian faithful to Islam, although Selim did take possession of all stone-built churches except Pammakaristus and Mouchliou, allowing the construction only of churches built of wood.

After the death of Selim in 1520, Patr. Theoleptus died suddenly in 1522, while awaiting his trial on an accusation of living an immoral private life. He was buried outside the Church of the Pammakaristus.

Preceded by:
Metropolitan of Ioannina
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Pachomius I
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
Jeremias I


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