Constantine Meliteniotes

March 16, 2012

For those who are interested, I added to the Wikipedia today a short article on John Bekkos’s archdeacon Constantine Meliteniotes.

2 Responses to “Constantine Meliteniotes”

  1. Tap Says:

    Hello, Doc Gilbert, i know this is sorta late but do you have a title for the two discourses (edited by Orphanos) written against Gregory’s tomes?

  2. bekkos Says:

    Hello, Tap.

    A brief answer is that they are called, respectively, the First Discourse and the Second Discourse. But you are probably looking for something more descriptive of their content. The First Discourse (Λόγος Πρῶτος) bears the subtitle: Ἀντιρρητικὸς κατὰ τοῦ τόμου τοῦ Κυπρίου (which roughly means: “A Refutation of the Cypriot’s Tome“); it occupies pp. 107-246 of Orphanos’s edition, or ff. 82r-131v of the manuscript Codex Parisinus gr. 1303, which Orphanos used as the basis of his edition. The Second Discourse (Λόγος Δεύτερος) is subtitled: Ὅτι δι’ Υἱοῦ καὶ ἐξ Υἱοῦ φέρει τὸ Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα τὴν ὕπαρξιν (“That it is through the Son and from the Son that the Holy Spirit possesses existence”); this discourse is considerably shorter than the first one, and is found on pp. 247-279 (= ff. 132r-143v of the manuscript).

    Orphanos has a useful summary of the two discourses, in Modern Greek (pp. 69-80 of the edition). I’ll note a few things from it below:

    The First Discourse begins with a brief description of the peaceful condition that prevailed in the Church from the time of the Iconoclast Controversy to the time Gregory the Cypriot came on the scene (f. 82); then comes a description of the Cypriot’s character and a criticism of his ambiguous behavior during the time of the Union (ff. 82-83); then a brief description of events that occurred after the death of Emperor Michael VIII, e.g., the moribund Joseph Galesiotes’ return to the patriarchate, and, in particular, the monastic/popular synod of January 1283, which Meliteniotes condemns as canonically irregular and as an overthrowing of ecclesiastical order (ff. 83-84); then a brief account of events surrounding George the Cypriot’s rise to the patriarchal throne, together with his hostile attitude towards the peace of the Church and ecclesiastical union (ff. 84-85); then a brief description of the First Synod of Blachernae (1283), presided over by the Cypriot, which Meliteniotes characterizes as a Robber Synod like the Synod of Ephesus of 449 (ff. 85-86); then an account of events that took place at the Synod of Adramyttion in the summer of 1284, which had as its goal the reconciliation of the Arsenites with the Josephites and the established Church (ff. 86-87); then a description of how John Bekkos began to send out letters from Prusa, calling for a new synod in which he would be allowed to defend himself and in which he would show, not only that Gregory II now occupied the patriarchal throne uncanonically, but that he was furthermore a teacher of heresies; Gregory tried to counteract these letters, but to no avail (ff. 87-89); then a description of the summoning and the acts of the Second Synod of Blachernae, of how an attempt was made to draw Constantine Meliteniotes and George Metochites to the side of the new antiunionist consensus, and how they vigorously rejected this overture; of the publication of Gregory the Cypriot’s Tome, and of how John Bekkos, George Metochites, and Constantine Meliteniotes were formally condemned and excommunicated (ff. 89-90). At this point, Meliteniotes’ book begins examining the Cypriot’s Tome and doctrines in more detail. He denies the Cypriot’s claim that those who, like Bekkos, teach that the Holy Spirit proceeds also from the Son thereby understand the Son to be cause of the Spirit’s existence in exactly the same way that the Father is the cause of the Spirit. Citing a text of St. John of Damascus, Meliteniotes explains that the Holy Spirit is emitted from the Father through the Son causally, because the word “emitter” (προβολεὺς) implies cause, but that, nevertheless, the Father alone is the principal (or originating, ἀρχικὸν) cause, and the Son is not set at odds to this cause as some sort of second originator. In this way, the doctrine of the monarchy is preserved (ff. 90-92). Meliteniotes criticizes the Cypriot’s inconsistent behavior regarding the Union of Lyons; he notes that not only was the Cypriot a supporter of the union and a collaborator with Bekkos, but that he had even forced others into accepting the union by his threatenings (ff. 92-93).

    That’s all I have time for right now; I need to get back to preparing for tomorrow’s classes at the Lyceum School. But perhaps this much will be useful to some readers of this blog.

    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!


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