Gregorius Syracusanus

Gregorius Syracusanus (Gregory of Sicily, and surnamed ASBESTAS), was born about 820, and became bishop of Syracuse about 845. In consequence it is said, of the invasion of the Arabs, he went to Constantinople soon after his appointment, for he was there in 847, when Ignatius was chosen patriarch. Gregory had strenuously opposed this election, and he then retired with some other prelates, who, taking his part created a schism against Ignatius. The latter, in return, deposed Gregory in a council held at Constantisnople in 854, under the plea of profligacy. The deposition was confirmed by pope Benedict III. When Photius took the place of Ignatius, who was deposed is858, he caused himself to be consecrated by Gregory thus openly recognizing his ecclesiastical character in spite of his deposition. They were both anathematized by the council held at Rome in 863, and thus the schism between the two churches was completed. Under these circumstances the accusation of immorality preferred against Gregory by Roman Catholic writers is to be received with great caution. Photius appointed him bishop of Niemea in Bithynia in 878. He died about 880. Some have considered him as the "Gregorius archiepiscopus Sicilae" mentioned by Allatius (De Methodiorum Scriptis, in the Convivium decem Virginum Sti. Methodi Martyris, Rome, 1656) as having written an "Oratia longa in S. Methodium." See Mongitor, Bibliotheca Sicula, 1:263 Cave, Hist. Lit. 2:40, 76; Jäger, Histoire de Photius, 1:1, 2; Smith, Dict., of Gr. and Rome. Biog. and. Myth. 2:310; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale 21:877.

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