Nicephorus, Constantinopolitanus, St

Nicephorus, Constantinopolitanus, St., an eminent Byzantine Church historian, and patriarch of Constantinople, was born in that city about 750 or 758. He first attached himself to the court, and held high offices. In 787 he was present at the Council of Nicea, and there defended image-worship. Shortly after his return to the capital he withdrew to a convent, from whence he was called in 806 to become patriarch of Constantinople. Leo Arminius having become emperor in 813, the worship of images was forbidden, and Nicephorus, on account of his exertions in their defense, became unpopular at court, and was finally obliged to resign the patriarchate in 815. He then retired to the convent of St. Theodore, of which he was the founder, and remained there until his death in 828. Nicephorus is sometimes called Homologeta, or Confessor, on account of his firm opposition to the Iconoclasts and his ensuing deposition. He is highly esteemed as the author of several important ecclesiastical productions of intrinsic value and beautiful style. His historical writings, which are his best, are remarkable for accuracy, erudition, and discernment; yet the doctrine of the worship of images is defended in his writings to a tiresome extent, and this course of Nicephorus astonishes the more as it is in contrast with his liberal views on other points. His most important works are: Breviariun historicum, or Κωνσταντινουπόλεως ῾Ιστορία σύντομος, one of the best works of the Byzantine period, from the death of Mauritius to the marriage of Leo IV and Irene, 602-770 (ed. Petav. Par. 1616; Venet. 1729): — Chronologia compendiaria tripartita, from Adam down to the time of the author (translated by Anastas. Bibliothec., and often published: Par. 1648; ibid. 1652, cum notis Goari): — Antirchetici libri adversus Iconomachos opuscula iv apud Canisiumn 1. c. and in Bibl. Patr. Lugd. t. xiv: — Disputatio de Imaginibus cum Leone Armeno ed Combefis (Par. 1664): — Stichometria librorum sacrorum (in Opp. Petri Pitheoi, Par. 1609; also in Critici sacri Angli, t. viii): -Confess.fid. ad Leonern III (in Baron. Annal. ad ann. 811; and in Hardouini t. 4:978): — Canones ecclesiastici XVII (in Hardouini t. iv; and Coteler. Monum. t. 3:445): — Fragmentunm de sex synodis (in Combefis, Auctar. Nov. Bibl. 2:603). Banduri prepared a complete edition of Nicephorus's works, but he died before it was ready for publication. In recent times a number of the works of Nicephorus have been brought out by Neri (1849) and Petra (1852). See an account of his life in Ignatius, Polit. in Actis ad. 13 Mart. Auctar. Nov. Bibl. 2:503; Combefis, Origen. Constant. p. 159; Oudini Comment. 2:2; Fabricius, Bibl. Grec. 7:603 sq.; Neander, Kirchengesch. 4:373; Piper, Einleitung ind. Monumental-Theologie, § 62; Christian Remembrancer, July, 1853, p. 248.

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