Joseph, Patriarch of Constantinople

Joseph, Patriarch Of Constantinople from A.D. 1416 to 1439, is one of the distinguished characters in the history of the Council of Florence. He was for a long time one of the most radical opponents to a union of the Eastern and Western churches, but the cunning Romanists at last ensnared the hoary patriarch, and he was induced, at a time when Rome itself was divided, to throw his influence in favor of the politic Eugenius IV, and actually attended the Council of Florence, there and then argued for union, and finally signed articles of agreement to effect this end. No sooner, however, had he assented than deep remorse for his action, forced upon him mainly by the unfortunate condition of his country, then greatly harassed by the invading Turks, brought him to a sick bed, and he died eight days after signing the instrument, June 10, 1439, leaving the Greek emperor, John Palaeologus, the only support of the Greek Council. See Milman's Latin Christianity, 8, 13 sq.; Mosheim, Eccles. Hist. book 3, cent. 15, pt. 2, ch. 2, § 13, 23, note 57. For further details, see the articles SEE BASLE, COUNCIL OF; SEE FLORENCE, COUNCILS OF; SEE GREEK CHURCH. (J.H.W.)

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