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Encyclopedia > Michael I Cerularius
Michael I Caerularius, mosaic
Michael I Caerularius, mosaic

Michael I Caerularius, anglicized - Cerularius, (b. Constantinople c. 1000 - d. 1059), also known as Michael Keroularios or Patriarch Michael I, was the Patriarch of Constantinople from 1043 to 1059) and author of the second and final schism of the Byzantine Church. Map of Constantinople. ... // Events World Population 300 million. ... Events Anselm of Canterbury settles at the Benedictine monastery of Le Bec in Normandy. ... The Patriarch of Constantinople is the Ecumenical Patriarch, ranking as the first among equals in the Eastern Orthodox communion. ... // Events Edward the Confessor crowned King of England at Winchester Cathedral. ... Events Anselm of Canterbury settles at the Benedictine monastery of Le Bec in Normandy. ...


The exact date and place both of his birth and death are unknown, and few details of his life are certain. At the very time when the Norman War gave the Byzantine court and the pope an opportunity to draw more closely together, the patriarch violently suppressed the Latin ritual observed in many cloisters and churches, and renewed the ancient charges of Photius in a letter to the bishop of Trani in Apulia, reserving his special attack for the Roman use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist, which he condemned as Jewish. Norman may refer to: the Normans, the Norman people. ... Photius (b. ... Trani is a seaport and episcopal see of Apulia, Italy, on the Adriatic Sea, in the Province of Bari, and 26 miles by railway west northwest of that town, 23 ft. ... Apulia (official Italian name: Puglia) is a region in southeastern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. ... The Eucharist or Communion or The Lords Supper, is the rite that Christians perform in fulfillment of Jesus instruction, recorded in the New Testament, to do in memory of him what he did at his Last Supper. ... The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination of these attributes. ...

The only explanation of Michael Cærularius's conduct is that he belonged from the beginning to the extreme wing of that party, and had always meant to break with the pope as soon as he could. Belonging to one of the great families of Constantinople, he held in his youth some place at the imperial court. During the reign of Michael IV the Paphlagonian (1034–41) he began his public career by plotting with Constantine IX Monomachus, the future emperor, to depose Emperor Michael IV (1034-1041). Both conspirators were banished, and, in their exile, formed the friendship to which Cærularius owed his later advancement. Cærularius was known as a dangerous person, so the Byzantine government tried to stop his political career by making him a monk. At first he refused; then suddenly the suicide of his brother caused his conversion, and he voluntarily entered a monastery. In 1042 Monomachus became emperor peaceably by marrying Zoe, a descendant of Basil I the Macedonian (867-86) and widow of both Romanus III (1028-34) and Michael IV. He remembered his old friend and fellow-conspirator and gave him an ambiguous place at court, described as that of the emperor's "familiar friend and guest at meals" (Psellus, "Enkomion", I, 324). As Cærularius was a monk, any further advancement must be that of an ecclesiastical career. He was therefore next made syncellus (that is, secretary) of the patriarch Alexius (1025-34). The syncellus was always a bishop, and held a place in the church second only to that of the patriarch himself. In 1034 Alexius died, and Constantine IX Monomachus, who hoped to find in him a firm ally, appointed Cærularius as his successor. There was no election; the emperor "went like an arrow to the target" (Psellus, ibid., p. 326). From this moment the story of Cærularius becomes that of the great schism between eastern and Western Christianity. After the reconciliation following the schism of Photius (d. 801), there remained at Constantinople an anti-Latin party that gloried in the work of that patriarch, honoured him as the great defender of the Orthodox Church, and waited for a chance of renewing his quarrel. Michael IV, the Paphlagonian, (1010 - December 10, 1041) (in Greek Μιχαήλ Παφλαγών, meaning from the province of Paphlagonia) was Byzantine emperor (April 11, 1034 to December 10, 1041). ... Romanus III (Argyrus), (in Greek Romanos Argyros, written Ρωμανός Αργυρός, lived 968 - April 11, 1034) was a Byzantine emperor(November 15, 1028 to April 11, 1034). ... George the Syncellus (died after 810) was a Byzantine chronicler and ecclesiastic. ... The term Great Schism refers to either of two splits in the history of Christianity: Most commonly, it refers to the great East-West Schism, the event that separated Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Roman Catholicism in the eleventh century (1054). ...

Cærularius strenuously defended the rights of the Church, and his chief importance is due to the fact that his course resulted in the complete cleavage between the Greek and Roman Churches. The time was singularly unpropitious for a quarrel with the pope. The Normans were invading Sicily, enemies of both the papacy and the Eastern Empire, from whom they were conquering that island. There was every reason why pope St. Leo IX (1048-56) and the emperor should keep friends and unite their forces against the common enemy. Both knew it, and tried throughout to prevent a quarrel. But it was forced on them by the outrageous conduct of the patriarch. Suddenly, after no kind of provocation, in the midst of what John Beccus describes as "perfect peace" between the two Churches (L. Allatius, "Græcia orthod.", I, 37), Cærularius sent a declaration of war against the pope and the Latins. His agent was Leo, Metropolitan of Achrida in Bulgaria. In 1053 this latter sent a letter to Bishop John of Tranum in Apulia, complaining of certain Latin customs, especially fasting on Saturday and the use of azyme (unleavened) bread for the Holy Eucharist. He says that the letter is meant for "all the bishops of the Franks and for the most venerable pope" (published by Will, "Acta et scripta", 56-60). There is no doubt that it was dictated by Cærularius. John of Tranum sent the letter on to Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, who translated it and showed it to the pope. Cærularius then sent to the other patriarchs a treatise written by Nicetas Pectoratus (Niketas Stethatos in Greek), a monk of Studion, against azyme bread, fasting on Saturday, and celibacy. Because of these "horrible infirmities", Nicetas describes Latins as "dogs, bad workmen, schismatics, hypocrites, and liars" (Will, op. cit., 127-36). Cærularius's third move made it plain that he meant war to the knife. Still unprovoked, he closed all the Latin churches at Constantinople, including that of the papal legate. His chancellor Nicephorus burst open the Latin tabernacles, and trampled on the Holy Eucharist because it was consecrated in azyme bread. This article considers Catholicism in the broadest ecclesiastical sense. ... Leo IX, born Bruno of Eguisheim-Dagsburg (June 21, 1002 - April 19, 1054) was pope from February 12, 1049 to his death. ... Ohrid is a city in western Macedonia, on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid. ... Byzantine miniature depicting the Studion. ... The Tabernacle is known in Hebrew as the Mishkan (Place of [Divine] dwelling). It was to be a portable central place of worship for the Hebrews from the time they left ancient Egypt following the Exodus, through the time of the Book of Judges when they were engaged in conquering...

Pope Leo IX then answered the letter of Leo of Achrida. Knowing well whence it came, he addressed his answer in the first place to Cærularius. It is a dignified defence of the customs attacked and of the rights of the Holy See, with a haughty defense of the primacy of Rome. He points out that no one thought of attacking the many Byzantine monasteries and churches in the West (Will, op. cit., 65-85). For a moment Cærularius seems to have wavered in his plan because of the importance of the pope's help against the Normans. He writes to Peter III of Antioch, that he had for this reason proposed an alliance with Leo (Will, 174). Leo answered this proposal resenting the stupendous arrogance of Michael's tone, but still hoping for peace. At the same time he wrote a very friendly letter to the emperor, and sent both documents to Constantinople by three legates, Cardinal Humbert, Cardinal Frederick (his own cousin and Chancellor of the Roman Church, afterwards Stephen IX, 1057-58), and Archbishop Peter of Amalfi. At Constantine's request an embassy was sent to Constantinople, headed by the Cardinal Bishop Humbert of Mourmoutiers. The emperor, who was exceedingly annoyed about the whole quarrel, received the legates with honour and lodged them in his palace. Cærularius, who had now quite given up the idea of his alliance, was very indignant that the legates did not give him precedence and prostrate before him, and wrote to Peter of Antioch that they are "insolent, boastful, rash, arrogant, and stupid" (Will, 177). Several weeks passed in discussion. Cardinal Humbert wrote defences of the Latin customs, and incidentally converted Nicetas Pectoratus (Will, 93-126, 136-50). Cærularius refused to see the legates or to hold any communication with them: he struck the pope's name from his diptychs, and so declared open schism. The legates then prepared the Bull of excommunication against Michael, Leo of Achrida, and their adherents, which they laid on the altar of Sancta Sophia on 16 July, 1054. Two days later they set out for Rome. The legates having excommunicated him, he likewise excommunicated them, starting the Great Schism. The emperor was still on good terms with them and gave them presents for Monte Cassino. Hardly were they gone when Cærularius sent for them to come back, meaning to have them murdered (the evidence for this is given in Fortescue, "Orthodox Eastern Church", 186-7). Cærularius, when this attempt failed, sent an account of the whole story to the other patriarchs so full of lies that John of Antioch answered him: "I am covered with shame that your venerable letter should contain such things. Believe me, I do not know how to explain it for your own sake, especially if you have written like this to the other most blessed patriarchs" (Will, 190). Leo IX, born Bruno of Eguisheim-Dagsburg (June 21, 1002 – April 19, 1054) was Pope from February 12, 1049 to his death. ... Pope Stephen IX was pope from about July 14, 939 until his death towards the end of October, 942. ... The Amalfi coast. ... The word cardinal comes from the Latin cardo for hinge and usually refers to things of fundamental importance, as in cardinal rule or cardinal sins. ... Humbert of Mourmoutiers (c. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Great Schism redirects here. ... The restored Abbey Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about eighty miles (130 km) south of Rome, Italy, a mile to the west of the town of Cassino (the Roman Cassinum having been on the hill) and about 1700 ft (520 m) altitude. ...

After the schism, Cærularius became for a time the strongest man at Constantinople. He quarrelled with his former patron, Constantine IX, who appeased him by abject apologies. He became a kind of king-maker. When Empress Theodora succeeded (1055-6), he "tried to rule over the empress" (Psellus, "Enkomion", 357). Michael VI (1056-7) was not sufficiently submissive, so Cærularius worked up a revolution, deposed him, went himself to cut off his hair, and shut him up in a monastery. In his place he set up Isaac I Comnenus (1057-9). Isaac knew well to whom he owed his place and was at first very docile. At this time Cærularius reached the height of his power: he appointed all the officers of state, and was the real sovereign of the empire. So little did he disguise this fact that he began to wear the purple shoes that were always the prerogative of the emperor. "Losing all shame", says Psellus, "he joined royalty and priesthood in himself; in his hand he held the cross while imperial laws came from his mouth" (in Brehier, op. cit., 275). Then Isaac got tired of being the patriarch's puppet and wanted to reign himself. Michael also quarrelled with Emperor Isaac I Comnenus over confiscation of church property. So once again Cærularius worked up a revolution. This time he meant to have himself crowned emperor. But Isaac was too quick for him; Michael Psellus was employed to bring the charge against him. He was accused of treason, paganism, and magic; he was "impious, tyrannical, murderous, sacrilegious, unworthy". He was condemned to banishment at Madytus on the Hellespont. On the way there was a shipwreck from the effects of which Michael suddenly died in 1059, though there was no suspicion that he was murdered. Theodora was the name of Flavia Maximiana Theodora, daughter of the Roman Emperor Maximian and second wife of the Emperor Constantius I Chlorus Theodora (6th century), Byzantine empress and wife of Justinian I Theodora (9th century), Byzantine empress in the 9th century Theodora (10th century), Roman senatrix and mother of... Michael VI Stratioticus, the warlike, was Byzantine emperor (1056 - 1057). ... Isaac coin. ... Isaac coin. ...

Legacy and reputation

His schism led to the end of the alliance between the Emperor and the Papacy, and caused later Popes to ally with the Normans against the Empire. In 1965, the fatal excommunications were rescinded by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras when they met in the Second Vatican Council. This was a significant ecumenical step towards restoring communion between Rome and Constantinople. The Pope is the Catholic Bishop and patriarch of Rome, and head of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches. ... The Normans (adapted from the name Northmen or Norsemen) were a mixture of the indigenous people of France and the Viking invaders under the leadership of Hrolf Ganger, who adopted the French name Rollo and swore allegiance to the king of France (Charles the Simple). ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ... Pope Paul VI (Latin: ), born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini (September 26, 1897 – August 6, 1978), reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and as sovereign of Vatican City from 1963 to 1978. ... Patriarch Athenagoras I (left) met Pope Paul VI in 1964 Patriarch Athenagoras I (born Aristokles Spyrou) (March 25, 1886 - July 6/7, 1972) was the Patriarch of Constantinople from 1948 to 1972. ... The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, or Vatican II, (Vatican two) was an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church opened under Pope John XXIII in 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI in 1965. ... Full communion is completeness of that relationship between Christian individuals and groups which is known as communion. ...

As soon as he was dead his apotheosis began. The emperor professed much regret for what had happened; his body was brought back to Constantinople and buried with great pomp in the church of the Holy Angels. Psellus, who had brought the charges against him, now preached a panegyric in his honour, describing him as the best, wisest, holiest, most misunderstood of men (this "Enkomion" is published by Sathas; see bibliography). It seems that, as soon as he was dead and therefore no longer dangerous, the Government found it more prudent to pretend to share the popular enthusiasm for him. From Psellus's two accounts (the indictment at the trial and the funeral oration) it is not difficult to form an opinion about Cærularius's character.

He was by far the strongest man in the Eastern Empire during a time of its general degradation, far more capable than the contemptible emperors he set up and deposed. His life was austere. He had unbounded ambition, pride, and savage vindictiveness. It was said at the time that he never forgave an injury. He was not a scholar, nor in any way so great a man as his predecessor and model, Photius. It seems that his breach with Rome was a part of a general scheme. He wanted to make himself autocrat of at least Eastern Europe. He could easily cow the feeble emperors; he could and did dictate orders overweeningly to the other Eastern patriarchs, but he knew that he could not frighten nor persuade the pope to tolerate such a position. A breach with the West was thus the first necessary step in a career that was meant to end in a combination of patriarchate and empire in his own person. He did not succeed in that plan, but he did something much more momentous; he founded the schismatical Byzantine Church. Photius (b. ...

Source & Reference

Preceded by:
Alexius I Studites
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
Constantine III Lichoudas

  Results from FactBites:
Cerularius was stridently anti-Latin and particularly resentful of Rome’s claim of primacy over all Christendom.
Cerularius answered by rejecting the papal assertion of supremacy and presenting an encyclical embodying the Byzantine defense of independence from and equality with the Western church.
Cerularius also asserted the superiority of the church over the state, a position that led to his eventual dethronement and exile by the Byzantine emperor Isaac I Comnenus (c.
OCA - About Orthodox Christianity (857 words)
Michael Cerularius, the patriarch of Constantinople, refused to give the papal legates a hearing because he thought they were politically motivated.
The official reasons for Humbert's anathema and excommunication of Cerularius were the removal of the filioque from the Creed; the practice of married clergy; and liturgical errors.
Patriarch Michael Cerularius responded to Humbert's action by excommunicating all responsible" for the July 16 incident.
  More results at FactBites »



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