Germanus I of Constantinople

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Our father among the saints Germanus I was the Patriarch of Constantinople from 715 to 730. He was a staunch defender of the veneration of icons and was forced to resign by Emperor Leo III, the Isaurian, an iconoclast. His feast day is May 12.


St. Germanus was born in Constantinople about the year 645, the son of the patrician Juatinianus. Juatinianus, a prominent senator, was killed by order of Emperor Constantine IV and his young son, Germanus, was emasculated. Germanus was then sent to a monastery from which he entered into the service to the church. He next appears as the Bishop of Cyzicus. The date of his consecration is unknown, but Theophanes and Nicephorus noted his presence at the Synod of Constantinople, in 712, as a bishop. In Cyzicus, Bp. Germanus had confronted the iconoclastic movement and rose to the defense of Orthodox Faith against the iconoclastic heretics.

In 713, Emperor Anastasius II came to the imperial throne, replacing the dethroned Phillippicus, a Monothelite. Anastasius restored orthodoxy and banished Monothelitism from the empire. With the death of Patriarch John VI, in 715, Germanus was elected patriarch as Germanus I. Among the first actions taken by Germanus was calling of a local synod that reaffirmed the doctrine of the Fourth Ecumenical Council and placed the leaders of Monothelitism under anathema, including Sergius I and Cyrus, former patriarchs.

In 716, Leo III the Isaurian came to the imperial throne. Leo opposed the veneration of icons and acted to ban their veneration. Immediately Patr. Germanus came to the defense of Orthodoxy. But, Emperor Leo did not back away and encouraged the iconoclasts. Against the emperor, the contest was unequal. Leo was intent on deposing Germanus, and in 730, he summoned a council before which Germanus refused to acknowledge the imperial decree prohibiting images. Patr. Germanus, under imperial pressure, then resigned as patriarch and was succeeded by Anastasius who did not oppose the emperor's position on images.

After his dismissal, Germanus went in exile to a monastery where he remained until his repose in 740. He was buried initially in the Chora Monastery, but later his relics were transferred to France.

At the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787, his name was added to the list of saints. He wrote a number of works. Among these works are the book "Meditation on Church Matters or Commentary on the Liturgy", more commonly known as On the Divine Liturgy, an explanation of passages of Holy Scripture, letters about veneration of icons, hymns in praise of the saints, and discourses on the Feasts of Presentation of the Theotokos, the Annunciation, and the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.

Succession box:
Germanus I of Constantinople
Preceded by:
Bishop of Cyzicus
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
John VI
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
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