July 29, 2017

Saint Constantine III Leichoudes, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 1063)

Holy Patriarch Constantine III of Constantinople (Feast Day - July 29);
icon depicts All Holy Patriarchs of Constantinople


Your presidency in Eden is unceasing,
Constantine the president of the city of Constantine.

Born in Kouzenas, in his youth Constantine studied in Constantinople, where he received a brilliant education. Constantine then entered into civil service and quickly built a career in the imperial court. He went on and directed state affairs as the mesazon (chief administrator) of emperors Michael V and Constantine IX, aided by a small circle of brilliant school friends who included John Mauropous, Michael Psellos and John Xiphilinos. He rose to high court offices: appointed protovestiarios (the Empire's senior-most financial official), he later became proedros (president) of the Senate. In 1050 Leichoudes' career was suddenly interrupted: he was deprived by Emperor Constantine IX of all titles and expelled from the capital.

It was at this time that Constantine went and became a monk. In the middle 1050's he returned to Constantinople and became abbot of the imperial Mangana Monastery, and in 1059, following the dismissal of Ecumenical Patriarch Michael I Cerularios, he was elected into the patriarchal office by Emperor Isaac I Komnenos, which he held until his death. He was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 1059 to 1063. As patriarch, Constantine's chief policy was a failed attempt to bring the Syrian and Armenian Monophysites into communion with Constantinople. He also followed his predecessor and did not commemorate the Pope of Rome.

Two texts of his survive:

1. On a Criminal Servant

2. On the Murdered and Deposed Priest

He also urged Michael Psellos to write the first section of his Chronography, which covers the historical period between 976-1059.

When he died, Michael Psellos wrote a funeral oration in his honor. Here we read of his virtue and the fact that he established a monastery dedicated to the Theotokos in Constantinople.