Nicephorus Patriarcha - Encyclopedia




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NICEPHORUS PATRIARCHA (c. 758-829), Byzantine historian and patriarch of Constantinople (806-815). His father Theodorus, one of the secretaries of the emperor Constantine Copronymus, had been scourged and banished for his zealous support of image-worship, and the son inherited the religious convictions of the father. He was secretary to the imperial commissaries at the council of. Nicaea in 787, which witnessed the triumph of his opinions; but, feeling dissatisfied with court life, he retired into a convent. In 806 he was suddenly raised by the emperor Nicephorus I. to the patriarchate of Constantinople, and this office he held until 815, when he accepted deposition rather than assent to the iconoclastic edict promulgated by Leo the Armenian in the previous year. He retired to the cloister of St Theodore, which he himself had founded, and died there in 829. After his death he was included among the saints of the orthodox church.

Nicephorus is the author of a valuable compendium (Breviarium historicum) of Byzantine history from 602 to 770, of a meagre Chronologia compendiaria from Adam to the year of his own death. The former contains an interesting account of the origin and migrations of the Bulgarians. Both will be found, together with some controversial writings and his biography by his pupil Ignatius, also patriarch of Constantinople, in J. P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, c.; edition of the compendia and life by C. de Boor (1880, Teubner series); see also F. Hirsch, Byzantinische Studien (1876); J. HergenrOther, Photius (1867); C. Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur (1897); Wetzer and Welte's Kirchenlexikon, ix. (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1895).

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