Post-classical history

Athanasios I of Antioch (d. 1170)

Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch (1157-1170). Before his appointment as patriarch, Athanasios was a monk in the monastery of St. John the Theologian in Patmos, but it seems that he lived in its metochion (dependency) in Constantinople. Between 1143 and 1157, he composed a eulogy on St. Christodoulos, the founder of his monastery, a text that shows him as an educated man with knowledge of classical literature and rhetoric.

Athanasios was appointed patriarch of Antioch by Emperor Manuel I Komnenos, probably in 1157, although he could not take up his appointment because of the hostility of the Franks of Antioch, who supported a Latin patriarch. On 25 December 1162, together with the patriarchs Luke Chrysoberges of Constantinople and Sophronios of Alexandria, Athanasios blessed the marriage of Emperor Manuel I and Maria of Antioch. In 1165 Athanasios was finally accepted as patriarch as part of an agreement with Bohemund III of Antioch, whose release from Turkish captivity had been secured by Manuel. The Latin patriarch, Aimery of Limoges, was deposed and had to withdraw to his castle of Cursat. In March 1166 Athanasios attended the first two sessions of a synod in the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, convoked by the emperor to discuss the meaning of Christ’s words “The Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). The patriarch was fatally injured in the cathedral of Antioch during the earthquake of June 1170 and died on 29 June 1170.

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