John VII Grammaticus of Constantinople

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John VII Grammaticus of Constantinople was the Patriarch of Constantinople from 836 to 843. He was an Iconoclast who was chosen patriarch by the iconoclastic emperor, Theodosius, but was [deposition|deposed]] by Theodosius' widow, Theodora.

Life

John was of Armenian origin, born into an aristocratic family. The date of his birth is unknown. His father was Pankaratios Morocharzanios. His brother Arsaber married a sister of the empress Theodora. John's sister, Irene, was the mother of the Patriarch Photius.

John was a painter of icons and was associated with Theodore of Studios. He entered the service of the Church about the year 811. However, by 814 he had become a confirmed Iconoclast in the administration of emperor Leo V. Leo chose him to lead a committee that was responsible for collecting patristic texts that supported the theological position of iconoclasm in preparation for a synod that met in 815 and re-instituted it.

John was responsible for the education of Theophilus, the future emperor, during the reign of his father emperor Michael II. He instilling in the young Theophilus strong iconoclast sympathies. After Theophilus succeeded his father as emperor in 829, John was appointed synkellos (patriarch's assistant), a position that made him a likely heir to the patriarchal throne.

After the patriarchal throne became vacant in 836, he was appointed patriarch, as John VII, by Theophilus. John may have been responsible for intensification of the persecution of Iconodules during the later part of Theophilus' reign. After Theophilus' death in 842, John was deposed by Theophilus' widow, the empress Theodora, who was John's relative, as a start towards ending Iconoclasm in 843. The deposed patriarch survived into the 860s.

Succession box:
John VII Grammaticus of Constantinople
Preceded by:
Anthony I
Patriarch of Constantinople
836-843
Succeeded by:
Methodius I
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