Alexius I Studites of Constantinople

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Alexius I Studites of Constantinople, (Greek: Ἀλέξιος ὁ Στουδίτης) was the Patriarch of Constantinople from 1025 to 1043. He was the last of the Patriarchs appointed by the emperor Basil II to the see of Constantinople. His patriarchate lasted through most of the reign of Zoe Porphyrogenita as Empress Consort of emperors Romanos III, Michael IV, and Constantine IX and empress with her sister Theodora.

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Life

Little is known of the early life of Alexius. He was a member of the Studion Monastery when he succeeded Eustathius as Patriarch of Constantinople in 1025.

Patr. Alexius was faced with the issue of the institution of charistike dorea (gift of grace) that had dominated monastery life. This practice involved the donation of monasteries to private individuals, unrelated to the founders of the monasteries, for a period of time. Ostensibly these donations were made so that the monastery facilities could be repaired or conserved, while at the same time protecting and preserving the spiritual functions of the monasteries. In actuality the practice was widely abused by the landed gentry (charistikarioi) and became a source for abused patronage by high church officials and a tool against the powerful monastic institutions.[1].

Patr. Alexius attempted to temper the abuse of the notorious charistike by appointing, subject to Synodal approval, the patriarch's chancellor, the chartophylax, as the official to serve as the final point of approval for all grants under the system. Alexius also restricted the granting of charistike to non-diocesan monasteries. The fact that Alexius sought reform over abolishment of the charistikion likely shows the inability of the Church to claim back many of these properties from the powerful land-owning elite who held them..[2]

Patr. Alexius also established a monastery for which he wrote the typikon (rule). This rule became the basis for the typikon of the Monastery of the Kiev Caves.

In 1034, after the empress Zoë procured the death of her husband, emperor Romanos III Argyros, Patr. Alexius crowned her favorite, Michael IV the Paphlagonian, as emperor. Alexius also thwarted the attempts by the emperor's brother, John the Orphanotrophos, to gain the patriarchal see in 1036. On June 11, 1042, Zoë married Constantine IX Monomachos without the participation of Patr. Alexius, who refused to officiate over a third marriage for both spouses.

Patr. Alexius died in 1043.

References

  1. Thomas and Constantinides, eds., pp. 49, 305.
  2. Thomas and Constantinides, eds., p. 204.
Succession box:
Alexius I Studites of Constantinople
Preceded by:
Euststhius
Patriarch of Constantinople
1025-1043
Succeeded by:
Michael I Cerularius
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