Stephen I of Constantinople

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Our father among the saints Stephen I of Constantinople was the Patriarch of Constantinople from 886 to 893. Placed in office at a very young age, he distinguished himself by his temperance, his vigilance watching over his spiritual flock, interceding for the defenseless, and his concern for the welfare of widows and orphans. His feast day is May 17.


Stephen (Greek: Στέφανος) was the younger son of Eudokia Ingerina and, officially, the Eastern Roman Emperor Basil I the Macedonian. He was the brother by birth of the emperor Leo VI the Wise. However, at the time when he was conceived, Eudokia was the mistress of Emperor Michael III, and consequently, it is possible or even probable that like his older brother Leo, Stephen was actually Michael's son.

Stephen was castrated by Basil I. He was tonsured a monk and placed for a career in the church as planned from his childhood. He was ordained a priest during the time of Patriarch Photios. In 886, upon his succession to the throne, his brother, the new Emperor Leo VI, dismissed Patr. Photios and appointed Stephen, then 19-year old, as patriarch.

Other than his participation in the ceremonial reburial of Michael III by Leo VI in the imperial mausoleum attached to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, Patr. Stephen was not involved in important events during his patriarchate other than acquiring a reputation for piety.

Patr. Stephen reposed peacefully in May 893 and was buried in the Sikellian Monastery.

Succession box:
Stephen I of Constantinople
Preceded by:
Photios I
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
Antony II Kauleas
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  • The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.


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