Sylvester Syropoulos (ca.1400 - ca.1453) was a Grand Ecclesiarch (Megas Ecclesiarches) and Deacon of the Great Church, who composed an account of the Greek delegation at the Council of Ferrara-Florence. The office of Grand Ecclesiarch was a high patriarchal office, fifth in the hierarchy after the Chartophylax and before the Sakellios.
We know little about Syropoulos’s dates, but it is likely that he was born around 1400 and died sometime after 1453. His parents and ancestors were also employed in the Church. There are records of Syropouloi in ecclesiastical offices in Constantinople from the eleventh century onward.
It is likely that Syropoulos received an excellent education in the patriarchal school but, somewhat surprisingly, he did not write his Memoirs in a high literary style or present the theological issues discussed at the Council of Ferrara-Florence in a very sophisticated way.
Syropoulos possessed some legal abilities, also serving as the Dikaiophylax, a job which after the ninth century was conferred exclusively on churchmen by imperial appointment. The duties of the Dikaiophylax involved cases of an ecclesiastical nature, but required knowledge of both civil and canon law.
Translation of 'Memoirs'
- V. Laurent. Les ‘Mémoires’ de Sylvestre Syropoulos sur le concile de Florence (1438-1439). (Paris: CNRS, 1971), pp. 196, ff.
- S. Syropoulos. Les Mémoires du grand ecclésiarque de l'Église de Constantinople Sylvestre Syropoulos sur le Concile de Florence (1438-1439). Paris: Éditions du Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), 1971.
- Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, IAA, University of Birmingham. Sylvester Syropoulos. (The Syropoulos Project. An electronic publication of the translation and commentary of the Fourth Book of Sylvester Syropoulos' Memoirs). 2008.