Photius, twice patriarch of Constantinople in the ninth century, enjoys, an almost unparalleled preeminence in both the Greek and the Russian Church of the present day. 'Though in his own time he had enemies, and though circumstances clouded his fame at Rome and at the Byzantine court, he took deep hold among his people from the first, and soon after his death his Church put his name in her calendar of saints. To judge his character is not easy. He was not the tyrant that his opponents represented him to be, though he could be hard and domineering. He was crafty, double-tongued, and vain, but to be so lay in the character of his time and in the atmosphere of the Constantinople in which he lived. He was a sort of universal genius--philologian, philosopher, theologian, jurist, mathematician, man of science, orator, and poet; no original thinker but of powerful memory, of iron industry, of good esthetic sense, of great dialectic skill, far-seeing and clever in practical matters, of commanding will-power, a profound judge of men, and true in friendship, though also always exacting the return, His piety in its way was real. To him the Orthodox Church owes her understanding and appreciation of her distinction from the Latin. Proud already of her inheritance, Photius intensified and confirmed her self-consciousness, and gave her the pregnant catchwords which have never been forgotten.
I. Life: (§ 1). Early Life. Photius was born at Constantinople, probably between 815 and 820, and died in the Armenian monastery of Bordi Feb. 6, 897 or 898. He was of a family of quality, rigidly orthodox, and friendly to images. His parents died early, "adorned with the martyr's crown," this probably meaning that, as friends of images, they were despoiled of their property and honors. It is known that they, with Photius, were excommunicated by an iconoclastic synod, but Photius himself appears never to have been in pecuniary straits. It is not possible to follow the course of his life closely before he became patriarch. When hardly more than a boy he began to give public lectures, first on grammar, then on philosophy and theology--an activity which was interrupted by an embassy "to the Assyrians," mentioned without further explanation in the preface to the Bibliotheca (see below, II., § 1); probably a visit to the court of the calif in Bagdad is meant. After the death of, the Emperor Theophilus in 842, the Empress Theodora became regent for her young son, Michael III., called the Drunkard, assisted by her brother, Bardas, who from his sister's counselor speedily developed into her rival. Learning was now held in higher esteem than it had been by the preceding iconoclastic emperors, and, Photius' relations with the court became very intimate. He was first secretary of state and captain of the bodyguard, and his brother Sergius was married to Irene, a younger sister of Theodora and Bardas. Photius himself was never married nor was he a monk. Bardas succeeded in entirely supplanting Theodora as regent, probably in 857, and, to nullify her influence, which was feared by the young Michael as well as by his uncle, it was proposed to immure her in a convent. The Patriarch Ignatius, however (see IGNATIUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE), was a partizan of Theodora and refused to lend himself to this plan, so that, on Nov. 23, 858 (or, according to others, 857), Bardas deposed him and chose Photius for his successor.
(§ 2). First Patriarchate. Photius undoubtedly belonged to a powerful party antagonistic to Ignatius, which included Bardas and was led by a certain Gregorius Asbesta, He was not a cleric, but the elevation of a layman to the patriarch's chair was not unprecedented. On five successive days (Dec. 20-24, 858) Gregorius hurried the candidate through the five grades necessary for the assumption of the patriarchate, and on Christmas Day, he was enthroned. Ignatius, however, did not retire quietly, in spite of the efforts of Bardas and Photius to make him yield, and he had a large following, the monks being especially hostile to Photius. The ill-treatment of Ignatius and his friends was doubtless exaggerated, and, so far as it really occurred, was due to Bardas rather than to Photius. Photius exerted himself to secure episcopal sees for his friends and accomplished Ignatius' deposition, in apparently canonical form, by a synod in 859. Ignatius went to Rome and sought aid from Pope Nicholas I. (q.v.). At first Photius ignored this move, but ultimately he sent a particularly impressive legation to Nicholas with a notification of his enthronization which completely concealed the real situation. A letter from the emperor went with it asking for recognition of Photius and requesting that legates be sent to a council in Constantinople to settle the few remaining problems connected with the iconoclastic disorders. At the same time Photius wrote to the Eastern patriarchs concealing the facts even more than in his letter to the pope and evidently wishing to secure recognition from them before the pope's legates should arrive in Constantinople. The council (called "first-second"--prima-secunda) met in May, 861, and from the very first the papal legates, Rodoald of Porto and Zacharias of Anagni, espoused Photius' side. Ignatius was very summarily treated and his deposition was confirmed, although he received more support from the assembled bishops than the emperor and Photius had expected.
Nicholas seems to have hoped that Photius would recognize the primacy of jurisdiction, which he had assumed from the first. But Photius had no such intention, however much he may have been willing to flatter. The pope proceeded slowly, but on Mar. 18, 862, he issued an encyclical to the Eastern bishops in which he disavowed the acts of his legates at the council and declared: "We do not consider Ignatius deposed nor do we recognize Photius as in episcopal orders." He wrote to the emperor and to Photius to the same effect, and a year later (Apr., 863), when it had become evident that writing accomplished nothing, he had his judgment confirmed by a synod in Rome and threatened Photius and his adherents with excommunication. Meanwhile Photius found unexpected support from certain Western bishops who had fallen out with Nicholas over the divorce of Lothair II. (see NICHOLAS I). He drew up a reply from the emperor to the pope in which he adopted a very lofty tone, even addressing Nicholas as the emperor's subject. The document is lost, though its tenor is evident from certain letters of Nicholas. The pope answered with spirit, but he failed to measure public opinion in Constantinople. The new Rome looked down with scorn on the old and its "barbarians' tongue," and Photius all his life disdained to learn Latin (see below, II., § 1). Constantinople regarded the connection of the papacy with the Carolingian empire as a manifestation of revolt. There was a firm determination to insist that the pope should at least respect ecclesiastical boundaries, and feeling on this point was excited at the time by the case of the Bulgarians, who, converted by eastern missionaries and placed under the jurisdiction of the ecumenical patriarch by the Council of Chalcedon, were showing some disposition to go over to Rome (see BULGARIANS, CONVERSION OF THE). Photius, apparently in 865, addressed a long letter to the newly converted Bulgarian Bogoris; but the latter, doubtless for political reasons, turned to the pope, who sent two legates and a number of priests, as well as a voluminous pastoral epistle to the prince. At the same time Nicholas sent three messengers with no less than eight letters addressed to the emperor, Bardas, Photius, and all concerned, even the senators of Constantinople, requiring the execution of his judgment. The emperor, however, turned the pope's envoys back at the border, and the letters were not delivered.
(§ 3). Decisive Break with Rome. Photius now executed the master stroke which really separated East and West. As the pope had attacked the validity of his ordination and position, so he called in question the pope's own position, declaring the pontiff to be a patron of heresy. The encyclical to the patriarchs of the East in which Photius made the charge and sought to prove it is rightly regarded as the magna charta of the Orient in all its subsequent attitude and conduct toward the Occident. Leaving personal matters quite out of account, and not hinting at the relations between Nicholas and himself, Photius spoke only of the danger which threatened from Rome, making the sending of Roman priests to the Bulgarians his starting-point and ending with an attack on the Filioque (see FILIOQUE CONTROVERSY), concerning which he wrote a minute theological discussion with fourteen arguments against the doctrine of double procession. He wished to hold a synod in Constantinople to counteract the work of the West, and it actually met in the summer of 867. The acts are lost, but Photius secured the decrees which he wished, and he then allowed his personal resentment to appear when he retaliated for his own excommunication by Nicholas with anathematizing the pope. He seems even to have attempted to exalt the new Rome over the old and to have thought of claiming the primacy for Constantinople.
(§ 4). Years of Retirement. Photius' triumph was short-lived. Bardas had been murdered in 866, and Basil the Macedonian had succeeded him as joint ruler with Michael. In Sept., 867, Basil had Michael murdered and became sole ruler. He thought it would strengthen his position if Ignatius were restored. Accordingly, Photius was expelled from his palace a few days after Basil's accession, and on the anniversary of his deposition, Nov. 23, 867, Ignatius was reenthroned, ten days after the death of Nicholas I. Basil deemed a break with the West inopportune, and, after negotiating for a year with Rome, he called a council (the Fourth Constantinople, Oct; 5, 869-Feb. 28, 870; the eighth general council of the West) which brought about the full restitution of Ignatius, at the same time officially deposing and condemning Photius. It was dominated by the Pope Adrian II. (q.v.), but his triumph was more apparent than real. In the West this council is regarded as the settlement of the controversy over images; but Photius could claim with reason that he had finally allayed this strife by the council of 861; and when the papal legates at the council demanded recognition of the claims of Rome concerning the Bulgarians, the Orientals protested in words which showed how the alliance of the pope with the West rather than with the East burned in all Greek souls.
Photius lived at Stenos, on the European side of the Bosphorus, under strict surveillance and deprived of his books. Direct association with his friends was forbidden, but he was allowed to correspond with them freely. His following among the clergy was so great that at first scarcely twenty bishops appeared at the council which condemned him, and, in spite of the strenuous exertions of his enemies, only a little over 100 were present at the final session. Harsh measures against his adherents made it easy for him to organize a sort of antihierarchy, and he well knew how to hold his party together and to animate all with his own unyielding spirit, which steadily refused to hear of compromise. Gregorius Asbesta and a whole company of influential metropolitans stood by him faithfully. At the same time he carefully refrained from attacking the emperor in all that he wrote, and the time came when he could move more freely. His requests for favor to his friends were listened to, the emperor even consulted him on theological questions, and finally (probably in 876) he was recalled to Constantinople as tutor to the princes royal. It was evident that after the imminent death of Ignatius, Photius would again ascend his throne.
(§ 5). Second Patriarchate. Ignatius died Oct. 23, 878 (according to others, 877), and three days later Photius was installed in his place. The relations between Photius and Basil were thenceforth of the best. Basil asked Pope John VIII. (q.v.) to recognize the reinstated patriarch, and this time the pope, needing imperial support for his schemes in Italy, showed a disposition to comply. He declared Photius' first elevation illegal, however, criticized the second because it had taken place without his knowledge, and stipulated that Photius should ask pardon before a synod. This was not at all to Photius' mind, and he accordingly contrived that a council should meet in Constantinople (the "Synod of St. Sophia," Nov., 879-Jan. 26, 880, the eighth general council of the East), attended by three times as many bishops as the council of 869. From this he obtained all that he desired, and the acts read as though the papal legates did not fully comprehend what they were doing. Photius was very amiable and apparently submissive to "his beloved brother," John, but he obscured the full meaning of his demands, and, remaining in the background himself, spoke in the council through others. The emperor kept away from the council; but after it was officially closed, he presided, at the instance of Photius, over two supplementary assemblies, at the first of which those present, including the papal legates, declared their adherence to the old creed. In the second Photius had one of the bishops deliver an address which in no veiled terms put him above the pope. Later, for political reasons, John rather outbid his legates than disavowed them.
Photius was now at the zenith of his power and glory, but relations with Rome soon became strained again. In 882 John VIII. was succeeded by Marinus I., the first pope who had previously been bishop of a non-Roman see and who had not been chosen directly from the Roman clergy. That he himself had made many translations did not deter Photius from using this technical irregularity against his Roman rival. Though his pontificate was too brief for any real results, Marinus renewed the ban against Photius, whereupon the latter stirred up afresh the strife over the procession of the Holy Spirit (see below, II., § 3). On Aug. 29, 886, the Emperor Basil died unexpectedly. His successor, Leo VI., had been Photius' pupil and originally was devoted to him, though for unknown reasons he had been the patriarch's bitter enemy since 880. Like Basil at his accession, Leo determined to be rid of Photius. He was ruthlessly deprived of his office and was banished to the monastery of Bordi in Armenia, where he lived probably a full decade or more. With his second downfall, however, Photius disappears from history.
It should be noted that Photius' contest with the popes did not absorb all his powers. He always found time for learning and art. He promoted missions to the Bulgarians and Russians; he sought relations with the Saracen princes, primarily for the good of the Christians under their rule and because of the holy places in Palestine; and he watched and endeavored to convert the Paulicians and other heretics both within and without the empire. Though some of his acts may be criticized, he had a lofty concept of his duty both as " watchman" against the West and as supreme shepherd of the East, and he performed. it with zeal and energy. The Greeks are right when they reckon him among the foremost of all their spiritual leaders.
II. Writings: (§ 1). Bibliotheca. Measured by the standard of his time, Photius ranks very high as scholar; in the ninth century he is a phenomenon- of learning and good judgment. Even when measured by a more exacting standard, he is still far from contemptible; his books were literary treasure-houses for the later dark ages of his people and have their value even now. The best-known and most important for the present time is that commonly called the Bibliotheca or Myriobiblon, which presents summary accounts (cited as "codices") of 280 books read and studied by Photius, put together without apparent plan of arrangement and varying much in length and method of treatment. Some codices are mere brief synopses of contents; others contain excerpts, which steadily grow longer as the work proceeds; and some include critical remarks, which also vary from superficial, opinions to carefully weighed and exact judgments. Possibly the book epitomizes Photius' academic lectures or gives specimens from them. It purports to have been written at the request of "our dear brother, Tarasius," who asked Photius, when he was preparing for his journey "to the Assyrians" (see above, I., § 1), to leave behind on his departure a description of books which he had read with his scholars at times when Tarasius could not be present. In its present form the work can hardly have been composed under such conditions; perhaps it originated as indicated at Tarasius' request and was elaborated later. It takes account of both heathen and Christian writers, and includes not a few works which are now lost. Historians, theologians, philosophers, grammarians, physicists, as well as acts of councils, martyrs, and saints, are reviewed. The rhetoricians appear to have been particularly interesting to Photius. Of theologians the dogmaticians proper are preferred. The poets hardly appear, and the great philosophers of ancient Greece are scarcely mentioned, perhaps from an evident intention to treat only less-known works. Thucydides, Polybius, Plutarch, and writers like Hippocrates and Pausanias are also left out of account, and the more famous theologians are treated briefly. Athanasius, Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzen, and Basil are often mentioned, but only their rarer works receive extended notice. The summaries are often excellent, and Photius' remarks on the style of his authors show good and cultivated taste. For his biographical notices he used an abridgment of a work of Hesychius of Miletus. Latin writers he knew only in translation.
(§ 2). Amphilochia. The Amphilochia is so called because it is dedicated to Amphilochius of Cyzicus, one of the truest friends and oldest disciples of Photius, who had propounded certain questions to his teacher and who is often mentioned in the work. It consists of a series of questions and answers (300 in number according to the prologue; in existing manuscripts and editions the number is greater and variable, and the order is not the same), chiefly relating to Biblical topics, but including some which belong to dogmatics and philosophy and some which hardly appertain to theology at all. The Bible questions generally relate to passages which appear to be contradictory, the so-called enantiophanies of Scripture, and some of the answers are merely exegetical expositions. Many passages are treated more than once. As in the Bibliotheca, the answers vary greatly in length, some being mere notes, others almost treatises, and there is no apparent plan. Most of the answers evidently belong to the time of the first exile of Photius, and may have been communicated by letter. It is possible that Photius collected them later, and probably the work was expanded with time. The author shows little originality, excerpting whole sections from Chrysostom, Polychronius, Germanus of Constantinople, John of Damascus, and others, and elsewhere being dependent on Athanasius, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Dionysius the Areopagite, Maximus Confessor, and others without directly copying them. In no less than thirty-two passages he repeats Theodoret almost verbally. The long, minute, and keen first answer addressed to Amphilochius may, however, be original.
(§ 3). Polemical Works. The best-known of Photius' polemical works is the "Treatise on the Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit," written against the Filioque. It was an incident of the renewed strife with Rome begun by Marinus (see above, 1., § 5) and belongs to the years 885 or 886. It is throughout an independent product of Photius. It was he who gave the doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit the sharp and precise definition which it ever afterward had in dogmatics. It is significant that the doctrine is not mentioned in the Amphilochia; it had no immediate interest for Photius, and only the need of points of attack upon the West led him to elaborate it. After a brief introduction he fixes on John xv. 26, as the 1ocus classicus of the doctrine, where Christ says that the Spirit proceeds "from the Father." To add that he proceeds also from the Son is held to lead to absurdities; it makes the Spirit a "product of the Son," and it destroys the unity of the three Persons of the Trinity (iii., iv.). The latter argument remained the leading one of all Eastern polemics against the West in the Filioque controversy. The consequences of the addition are further considered in chaps. vi.-xix., xxxi.-xlvii., and lxi.-lxiv. Such passages as John xvi. 14 and Gal. iv. 6 are declared to be invalid arguments against the position of Photius (xx.-xxx., xlviii.-lx., xc.-xciv.). In chap. v. he asserts that the Fathers and councils are unanimous against the addition; and in chaps. lxv.-lxxxix. he examines the utterances of such western authorities as Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome, and the popes from Damasus to Adrian III., and maintains that they support the contention of the East. The "Dissertation on the (New) Sprouting of the Manicheans" is a work against the Paulicians (q.v.). It consists of four books, of which the first gives a historical account of the Paulicians as New Manicheans, and the remainder a dogmatic and Biblical refutation of their doctrines. Books ii.-iv. do not fully accord with the plan as laid down in book i., and it has been suggested that they are a working-over of twelve lectures against the Manicheans. The fourth book appears to be an independent work and later than ii. and iii. If genuine, it probably belongs to the time of the first exile, since in it the author complains of being deprived of his books. The first book is closely related to the Historia Manichorum ascribed to Petrus Siculus (MPG, civ. 1240 sqq.). The "Precise Conclusions and Proofs," in the form of questions and answers, furnishes a compendium of historical documents (acts of synods, etc.) relating to metropolitans, bishops, and the like; and it has been held that Photius wrote it as an indirect defense of his elevation and his opposition to Rome, as well as a refutation of the arguments advanced by his opponents against his legitimacy.
(§ 4). Other Writings. Hergenröther knew of twenty-two addresses by Photius, of which only two were printed (MPG, cii. 548 sqq.). Eighty-three "addresses and homilies" are now offered by Aristarches (see below, § 5), but the greater number of these are compositions of the editor rather than of Photius. No doubt Photius' works contain passages which were originally parts of spoken discourses; but it may well be questioned whether it is possible to select these fragments and put them together so as properly to reproduce the original addresses. At the same time, the collection offers some important inedita which are attested by manuscript evidence as real specimens of Photius' homiletic manner and skill. In general his thought follows the old and familiar channels of his Church. He is fluent and figurative, soars not seldom in a real flight, but more often shows mere floridity and phrasing. Photius' letters are the most important source for his character and type of thought. Migne arranges them in three books: political letters to popes, patriarchs, bishops, emperors, and other princes (24 numbers); private letters to bishops, clerics, monks, etc., mostly letters of encouragement, recommendation, admonition, and the like (102 numbers, many of them very short); and letters to laymen, especially high officials (67 numbers). Valettas (see below, § 5) gives a larger number disposed in five books: "dogmatic and hermeneutic letters" (84 numbers); "parenetic letters" (57 numbers); "consolatory letters" (15 numbers); "letters of censure" (64 numbers); and "miscellaneous letters" (40 numbers, mostly brief friendly notes).
Photius' other writings include: Bible commentaries, of which only fragments are preserved (cf. MPG, ci. 1189-1253). A lexicon intended as a help to the understanding of authors whose diction was no longer current in the ninth century; it shows 1ittle originality and perhaps belongs to Photius' youth; probably he had help in composing it. Poems, of which three odes on Basil and a hymn of nine odes on Christ are known (the former in MPG, cii. 577 sqq., the latter in the Ekklesiastike Aletheia, Constantinople, 1895). An "Exhortation by Means of Proverbs" is published by J. Hergenröther in his Monumenta Grca ad Photium ejusque historian pertinentia (Regensburg, 1869, pp. 20-52), as well as some fragments of philosophical writings (pp. 12 sqq.) and a not uninteresting extract from a work "0n the Holy Liturgy" (pp. 11-12). For lost works of Photius (against the Emperor Julian, against Leontius of Antioch, and probably also a study on contradictions in the Roman codes) cf. Krumbacher, Geschichte, p. 522.
Photius was not the author of the Nomocanon, the standard law-book of the Eastern Church (see NOMOCANONS). It is older than his time, though it was supplemented during his patriarchate (in 883, according to the preface), and his councils of 861 and 879 had a part in this work. Whether Photius himself prepared the new edition is uncertain; but it is at least evident that he had a good knowledge of canon law, for some of his letters expound legal points in an illuminating manner. The canons of his councils were certainly Photius' work, and the Bibliotheca proves his acquaintance with the legal literature.
(§ 5). Editions. Photius' writings are collected in MPG, ci.-civ. The last two volumes contain the Bibliotheca, the text being that of Immanuel Bekker (2 vols., Berlin, 1824). Migne's text of the Amphilochia (vol. ci.) was furnished by Bishop Jean Baptiste Malou, with the help of Hergenröther, from a Vatican manuscript and without knowledge of the manuscript of Mt. Athos, which is the basis of the more valuable edition published by Constantinus conomus (Athens, 1858). The "Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit" was first edited by Hergenröther (Regensburg, 1857); his text is reprinted with copius notes in Migne (cii.). The "Dissertation on the Manicheans" was first published in complete form (four books) by Johann Christoph Wolff in his Anecdota Grca, i.-ii .(Hamburg, 1722), whence it was reprinted by Migne (cii. pp. 15 sqq.). The work referred to above as "Precise Conclusions and Proofs" is given by Migne (civ. 1219 sqq.) under the title "Ten Questions and Answers." The most complete collection of Photius' addresses and sermons (or of what purport to be such; see above, II., § 4) is S. Aristarches' "Eighty-three Addresses and Homilies of Photius" (2 vols., Constantinople, 1900). The 1etters (reprinted from older works) are in MPL, cii., as well as in the much better and more complete edition by Johannes Valettas, "Letters of Photius" (London, 1864); as supplements, Valettas prints the "Ten Questions and Answers" mentioned above and a similar "Five Questions and Answers." A. Papadopoulos-Kerameus has attempted to supplement Valettas in his Sancti Patriarch Photii epistol xlv. (St. Petersburg, 1896), though in his Photiaka (1897) he states that only the first twenty-one letters really belong to Photius, the others being properly ascribed to Isidore of Pelusium. The best edition of the lexicon is by S. A. Naber (2 vols., Leyden, 1864-65), Certain fragments and treatises of lesser moment are published in J. Hergenröther, Monumenta grca ad Photium ejusqe historiam pertinentia (Regensburg, 1869), and in A. Papadopoulos-Kerameus, Monumento grca et latina ad historiam Photii patriarch pertinentia (2 parts, St. Petersburg, 1899-1901). The writing "On the Franks and the Other Latins," printed by Hergenröther in the first of these collections (pp. 62 sqq.), is shown in his Photius (iii. 172 sqq.) to be spurious; it is probably subsequent to the time of Michael Cærularius. For the Scripta canonica (including the N omocanon), cf. MPG, cv.