While the Council of [[Chalcedon]] of 451 established the Orthodox position in regard to ''Monophysitism'', and establishing it as a [[heresy]], the issue remained a divisive issue in the Church due to imperial political considerations for many decades. The heresy was popular in Syria and Egypt and grew in other parts of the Eastern Empire where Constantinople was not popular. Patriarch [[Proterius of Alexandria|Proterius]] of Alexandria was murdered in 457 and replaced by a [[Timothy II Aelurus of Alexandria|Timothy II Aelurus]], a Monophysite, who after he died in 477 was replaced by the Orthodox, Bishop John I Talaia, who after he offended Zeno, was replaced in 482, by the Monophystic leaning Peter Mongus. The thrones of [[Church of Antioch|Antioch]] and [[Church of Jerusalem|Jerusalem]] were also occupied by Monophysites: Peter Gnapheus (Fullo) and Theodosius respectively.
Thus, by the time Emperor Zeno came to the throne in 474, the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were in the hands of [[hierarch]]s who were disposed to Monophysitism. While Zeno was a friend of Peter Gnapheus and sympathized with the Monophysites, he came to the throne as a defender of Orthodoxy. His defense of the Orthodox position was also forced by his rival for the throne, Basiliscus, who had made himself the protector of the Monophysites. Confronted with a severely divided empire, Zeno looked for a means to reconcile the parties and unify the Church. Zeno took the side of the Orthodox bishops, but he also wanted to placate his friends in Egypt and Syria.