Anthimus VI of Constantinople

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Revision as of 11:40, September 15, 2012

His All-Holiness Anthimus VI Koutalianos was the 249th Patriarch of Constantinople during the middle of the nineteenth century. He served as patriarch for three separate periods: from 1845 to 1848, from 1853 to 1855, and from 1871 to 1873. He criticized papal ambitions to exercise authority over a universal Catholic Church and convened a local council in 1872 that condemned “phyletism”.

Life

Anthimus was born Joannides about the year 1790 on Kutali Island in the Aegean Sea. He entered early into a monastic life. Tonsured a monk, he lived at the Esphigmenou Monastery on Mount Athos. While at Esphigmenou, Anthimus led the expansion of the katholikon that was enlarged with the addition of two chapels, a vestibule, and a porch. Before his election as Patriarch of Constantinople in 1845, Anthimus served as Metropolitan of Serres from 1829 to 1833, Metropolitan of Prousa from 1833 to 1837, and Metropolitan of Ephesus from 1837 to 1845.

During his first period as patriarch, Anthimus became involved in a number of issues including rules for the schools of the Patriarchate and enforcing canonical order related to the consecration to the episcopacy of married clergy. In 1848, Anthimus, together with the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, wrote the ‘’Encyclical of the Patriarchs’‘ a letter to the Orthodox world that criticized papal ambitions to exercise authority over the universal Catholic Church. The papal position was promulgated in the letter ’‘Suprema Petri Apostoli Sede’‘ (“On the Supreme Throne of Peter the Apostle”) of January 6, 1848, by Pope Pius IX, that invited reunion of the Orthodox Church with Rome.

While Anthimus was noted to have a unstable character, his many terms in the Patriarchal office reflected the continuing policy of the Ottoman rulers to act in response to the political events of the Greek community that enabled the collection of tribute and prevented the patriarchate from acquiring undue political strength.

In his last term, Anthimus was also challenged by political change in the Ottoman Empire as the Bulgarian subjects of the Sultan strove for separation of the Bulgarian territories and people of the Christian “nation” within the empire from control of the Patriarch. Among the issues for the Bulgarians were rules that did not allow the use of Church Slavonic in their parishes. In 1879, the Sultan issued a firman (decree) that the Bulgarians would be governed by a Bulgarian exarch, who would reside in Constantinople. This presented an uncanonical situation for the Patriarchate as it established two separate ecclesiastical organizations within the same territory. To challenge this, Patriarch Anthimus convened, in 1872, a local church council that included the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem. The council condemned this national or ethic principle in church organization, called phyletism.

Patriarch Anthimus reposed in 1878.

Succession box:
Anthimus VI of Constantinople
Preceded by:
?
Metropolitan of Serres
1829-1833
Succeeded by:
?
Preceded by:
?
Metropolitan of Prousa
1833-1837
Succeeded by:
?
Preceded by:
?
Metropolitan of Ephesus
1837-1845
Succeeded by:
?
Preceded by:
Meletius III
Patriarch of Constantinople
1845-1848
Succeeded by:
Anthimus IV
Preceded by:
Germanus IV
Patriarch of Constantinople
1853-1855
Succeeded by:
Cyril VII
Preceded by:
Gregory VI
Patriarch of Constantinople
1871-1873
Succeeded by:
Joachim II
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