Andronicus of Sardis

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His Eminence Andronicus of Sardis was the Metropolitan of Sardis during the mid-thirteenth century. He participated in the negotiations with emperor Andronicus II Palaiologus that attempted to end of the Arsenite schism.


Little is known of the early life of Metr. Andronicus. He was born in the early thirteenth century, probably in Paphlagonia, an area on the Black Sea coast of north central Anatolia, during the time that the Fourth Crusade held Constantinople. He entered the Holy Orders at a young age and was already metropolitan of Sardis when Patr. Manuel II held the patriarchal throne of Constantinople in mid century. He participated in two synods convened by Patr. Manuel at Nymphaion of which the respective synodal documents referred to him as hypertimos and exarch of Lydia. In 1253, Andronicus led a delegation to Pope Innocent IV during the negotiations between emperor John III Vatatzes of Nicea and the Roman Catholic Church concerning the union of the Churches. Again in 1256, Andronicus participated in a council at Nymphaion, this time convened by Patr. Arsenius Autoreianus with whom Andronicus maintain close relations.

In 1258, after the death of emperor Theodore, emperor Michael VIII Palaiologus initiated a coup in which George Muzalon, co-guardian of the young emperor John IV Laskaris with Patr. Arsenius, was killed and Patr. Arsenius fled to the Monastery of Paschasius, yet retained his position as patriarch. Andronicus continued to support the patriarch and after the emperor replaced Arsenius, he requested of the emperor that he be retired. But, the emperor denied his request. This resulted in Andronicus' resignation and retirement to the Monastery of the Saviour in Selymbria as a monk.

With the recapture of Constantinople in July 1261, emperor Michael VIII Palaiologus returned to Constantinople in December 1261, leaving behind the young emperor John IV who was blinded to make him ineligible to rule. Having returned to Constantinople, emperor Michael recalled Patr. Arsenius to reoccupy the patriarchal seat again. Learning of the emperor's treatment of the young John IV, Patr. Arsenius severely censured Michael and went as far as excommunicating him.

When Patr. Arsenius was restored to the patriarchal throne, Metr. Andronicus asked to return to his see. But, his request was rejected by the members of the Holy Synod. In 1267, Andronicus was exiled after Arsenius was deposed and banished by emperor Michael to Proconnesus, which precipitated the Arsenite schism.

In 1282, the new emperor Andronicus II Palaiologos recalled Metr. Andronicus to Constantinople. After he returned from exile, Metr. Andronicus became the head of a group of followers of the deposed Patr. Arsenius as one of the spiritual leaders of the Arsenite movement. In co-operation with another personality of the movement, the imperial cousin John Tarchaneiotes, Metr. Andronicus remained in contact with emperor Andronicus II and became one of the main participants in the negotiations toward healing of the Arsenite schism. However, the schism would not be finally reconciled until the patriarchate of Nephon I in 1315. Also, according to the historian George Pachymeres, Metr. Andronicus had his sight on the patriarchal throne. However, in 1283, he agreed to the election of Gregory II of Cyprus as patriarch.

After Gregory II became patriarch, Metr. Andronicus was restored to the metropolis of Sardis by imperial order and became the emperor’s confessor. During this time, he also actively participated in the council convened by emperor Andronicus II at the Church of Theotokos of Blachernae and countersigned the Tomos that defrocked the pro-Latin hierarchs.

However by 1284, Metr. Andronicus appeared to have fallen out of grace. Shortly after the council convened in Adramyttion, on April 8 and 9, 1284 that dealt with the Arsenite schism, Andronicus faced accusations by his pupil Galaktion, who, among other charges, blamed him for treacherous conduct against the emperor. Metr. Andronicus was taken to an ecclesiastic court convened in Lampsakos and was condemned for illegally assuming the metropolitan see. Since he had been tonsured a monk, he was therefore sentenced to the pillory and was defrocked.

 Metr. Andronicus died in the late thirteenth century.

Succession box:
Andronicus of Sardis
Preceded by:
Metropolitan of Sardis
c.1250 - 1258
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Metropolitan of Sardis
1282 - 1284
Succeeded by:
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