John XIV Kalekas of Constantinople
John XIV Kalekas of Constantinople, (Greek: ωάννης ΙΔ' Καλέκας) was the patriarch of Constantinople from 1334 to 1347. He was an anti-hesychast and opponent of Gregory Palamas. He was an active participant in the Civil War between the supporters of the regency for John V Palaiologos and those of John VI Kantakouzenos.
John Kalekas was born about the year 1282 in Apros, Thrace. After having grown up in modest circumstances, John was married and had a son and daughter. He was ordained a priest. John came under the patronage of John Kantakouzenos, the chief minister of emperor Andronicus III and later megas domestikos, who introduced him to the imperial court. In 1334, against the resistance of the Patriarchal Synod John Kantakouzenos led John Kalekas to his election, first, as Metropolitan of Thessalonica and, then, as patriarch of Constantinople, where he succeeded Isaias I.
About the year 1337, during the patriarchate of John Kalekas, a Calabrian monk, Barlaam, who was the abbot of the Monastery of the St. Savior in Chora, learned of the practice of hesychasm during a visit to Mount Athos. Barlaam, trained in western scholastic theology, was scandalized and began to campaign against the practice and its advocate Gregory Palamas. The dispute grew until in 1341, emperor Andronicus III, a supporter of Gregory Palamas, convened a synod at which Patr. John, while supportive of Barlaam, did not resist his condemnation. After his condemnation Barlaam left Constantinople permanently. Thereafter, Barlaam's cause was taken up by Gregory Akindynos. In 1344, in a synod convened by John Kantakouzenos, without the presence of Patr. John Kalekas, Gregory Akindynos was also condemned.
In 1345, having finally committed to the Barlaam party, Patr. John Kalekas convened a synod that excommunicated Gregory Palamas from the Church and had him imprisoned for three years, until after Patr. John's death in 1347. During the same synod, Patr. John had Bishop Isidore elect of Monembasia, a disciple of Gregory, also excommunicated.
In June 1341, after the death of emperor Andronicus III, two factions emerged at the imperial court that were concerned with the succession to the imperial throne. The factions divided over the regency for the infant co-emperor John V Palaiologos. Aided by the intrigues of Alexios Apokaukos, the two sides engaged in a civil war that lasted until 1347. After some maneuvering one faction formed around John Kantakouzenos, who was a supporter of Gregory Palamas, and included the provincial magnates from Macedonia and Thrace. The other faction, which seized imperial power, was led by Patr. John XIV Kalekas and Alexios Apokaukos, and formed around Andronikos's widow Anna of Savoy in a new regency for the young John V Palaiologos. In forming the faction, Anna made Patr. John XIV Kalekas a regent and appointed Alexios Apokaukos an eparchos (urban prefect).
Initially, the regency held the upper hand, but by 1345 John Kantakouzenos, aided by help from Orhan, of the Ottoman emirate, and the murder of Alexios Apokaukos, dealt the regency a severe blow. In 1346, John VI Kantakouzenos was crowned co-emperor in Adrianople and entered Constantinople in February 1347. Then, the regency war ended with the agreement that John Kantakouzenos would be the senior emperor and regent for John V Palaiologos until he was old enough to rule on his own.
In the meantime, the dispute concerning hesychasm continued. Three further synods were held. In February/March 1347, a synod deposed Patr. John Kalekas and exiled him to Didymóteicho. This synod then elected Bp. Isidore as patriarch. In the latter part of 1347, the deposed John Kalekas was returned to Constantinople where he died later in the year.
The hesychasm dispute continued through a synod convened by Barlaam supporters that refused to accept Patr. Isidore before a finally settlement of the dispute came about at a sixth synod in 1351 during the patriarchate of Callistus I.
John XIV Kalekas of Constantinople
|Metropolitan of Thessalonica
|Patriarch of Constantinople