Timothy I of Constantinople

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Timothy I of Constantinople, also Timotheus I, was the Patriarch of Constantinople from 511 to 518, during the reign of the Eastern Roman emperor Anastasius I, a convinced Miaphysite, who attempted to force the rejection of the Christological doctrine expressed by the Council of Chalcedon.


Little is known of Timothy's early life. He was a priest with responsibility for the vessels and ornaments at one of the cathedrals. He was considered by some people to be a man of poor character and to have adopted Monophysitism out of considerations of ambitions rather than conviction. He was appointed to succeed Patr. Macedonius II by emperor Anastasius the day after the emperor deposed and sent Macedonius into exile, in 511, for refusing to compromise his faith by not condemning the Council of Chalcedon. Timothy had taken a position in the disputes of accepting the Henoticon of emperor Zeno and agreeing to the deposition of Patr. Macedonius. However, Timothy, himself, did not reject the Council. Timothy also added the name of Patr. John Niciota of Alexandria, a extreme Monophysite, to the diptychs.

As the new patriarch, Timothy sent letters to all the bishops requesting that they subscribe to his letters and agree to the deposition of his predecessor, Patr. Macedonius. This was met with mixed results. Some bishops agreed to subscribe and were for deposition, while others subscribed to the letters but refused to agree to the deposition, and still others refused both.

Among the patriarchs, John Niciota initially stood aloof from Timothy because Timothy did not reject the Council of Chalcedon, whereas, for the same reason, Flavian II of Antioch and Elias of Jerusalem did communicated with him at first.

In 511, Severus of Antioch, a non-chalcedonian, was placed on the throne in the see of Antioch by emperor Anastasius. He called a synod that condemned the Council of Chalcedon and communicated its decision to Timothy who in turn sent the decrees to Elias of Jerusalem. Elias rejected them, which incited Timothy to depose him. [1] He also induced the emperor to persecute the clergy, monks, and laity who adhered to Macedonius, many of whom were banished to the Oasis of Hibis in the Thebaid.

Timothy's emissaries to Alexandria anathematized the Council of Chalcedon from the pulpit. Within a year of his accession patriarch Timothy directed that the Thrice Holy should be recited with the Monophysite addition of "Who was crucified for us". This led to disturbances in two churches, disturbances in which many were slain over November 4 and 5, and to a terrible riot the following day which nearly caused the deposition of the Emperor Anastasius.

Patr. Timothy died in 518 and was succeed by Patr. John II.

Liturgical innovations

Two liturgical innovations have been attributed to Timothy. These are the prayers on Holy Friday at the church of the Virgin and recital of the Nicene Creed at every service. The initial recital has also been ascribed to Peter the Fuller.


  1. Liberat. 18, 19; J. D. Mansi, viii. 375
Succession box:
Timothy I of Constantinople
Preceded by:
Macedonius II
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
John II Cappadocia
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