Peter Fullo of Antioch

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Peter Fullo of Antioch, also Peter the Fuller, an opponent of the Council of Chalcedon, was able to hold the cathedra of the Church of Antioch as Patriarch of Antioch for various periods from 465 to 488 through the influence of emperor Zeno.


Little is known of the early life of Peter. He apparently was trained in the trade of a fuller of cloth which he practiced when he was a monk at the Monastery of Acoemeti, hence his name. He was expelled from the monastery, that was located in the Diocese of Chalcedon on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, on account of his dissolute life and his heretical doctrines. After leaving the monastery, Peter crossed over to Constantinople where he courted influential people and gained an introduction to Zeno, the son-in-law of emperor Leo I. Through Zeno, Peter obtained a position as priest at the Church of St. Bassa in Chalcedon.

His anti-Chalcedonian beliefs soon came apparent resulting in his being driven out by the populace. He joined Zeno again, in 463, as Zeno was en-route to Antioch as commander of the East (Magister Militum per Orientem). In Antioch, Peter became very desirous of the patriarchal throne of Antioch that was held by Martyrius. Having befriended the people of Antioch, Peter raised suspicions against Martyrius as a secret Nestorian, causing, in 470, the expulsion of Martyrius and his own election to the throne.

Established as patriarch, Peter openly declared himself against the Council of Chalcedon and, to gain favor of the non-Chalcedonians, added to the Trisagion the words "Who was crucified for us" in the monophysitic sense that the Father and the Holy Spirit were crucified with the Son. This, he imposed as a test upon all in his patriarchate, anathematizing those who declined to accept it.

After his deposition, Patr. Martyrius complained to emperor Leo in Constantinople, who through Patr. Gennadius convened a council of bishops which found in Martyrius' favor and restored him. However, Peter's personal influence in Antioch coupled with Zeno's support made it impossible for Martyrius to regain the throne, which he then abandoned. The indignant Leo then sent an imperial decree that deposed Peter and banished him. However, Peter fled Antioch. Then in 471, Julian was elected patriarch unanimously to fill the vacant see. Peter spent his "exile" in Constantinople in retirement in the monastery of the Acoimetae. He was so allowed to reside there in return for a pledge that he would not create further disturbances.

During the short reign of emperor Basiliscus, from January 475 to August 476, the fortunes of Peter revived. Influenced by his wife, Basiliscus advocated for the Non-Chalcedonians. He restored from exile, Timothy Aelurus to the throne of Patriarch of Alexandria, who then issued an encyclical letter to the bishops calling them to anathematize the decrees of Chalcedon. Peter gladly complied and was rewarded, in 476, by restoration to the see of Antioch. Julian was deposed and reposed not long after.

Restored as patriarch of Antioch, Peter enforced his addition to the Trisagion, and acted with great zeal against the Chalcedonian party. He crushed all opposition by appealing to the Syrian people, over whom he had gained influence. Once established on the patriarchal throne, he was not slow to stretch its privileges to the widest extent, ordaining bishops and metropolitans for all Syria. The fall of Basiliscus, however, brought ruin to all who had supported him and had been promoted by him. Peter was one of the first to fall.

With the return of Zeno to the imperial throne, Peter, in 485, was again placed on the throne of Antioch upon his signing the Henoticon. He resumed his zealous career. He expelled Chalcedonian bishops who refused to sign the Henoticon and performed ordinations not recognized by Chalcedonians, especially that of the Xenaias (Philoxenus), a Persian Monophysite, to the see of Hierapolis. In turn, he was condemned and anathematized, in 485, by a synod of 42 Western bishops at Rome. He retained, however, the patriarchate at Antioch till his death in 488. One of his last acts before his death was his unsuccessful attempt of reviving the claim by the see of Antioch of returning Cyprus as part of the patriarchate, which the Third Ecumenical Council of 431 in Ephesus had removed from Antioch's jurisdiction.

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Peter Fullo of Antioch
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Patriarch of Antioch
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Patriarch of Antioch
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John II
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Patriarch of Antioch
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