Oecumenical Judge

Oecumenical Judge is the title given to the patriarch of Alexandria. It was first applied to Arsenius, who succeeded Philotheus A.D. 1015. It originated as follows: "A dispute having arisen between the emperor Basil and the patriarch of Constantinople, Sergius Il, apparently on the subject of tax, which the former had levied, and to which the latter objected. Philotheus, then at Constantinople, was called in as arbiter of the disagreement. Finding that both the prelate and the emperor were in the wrong, and unwilling to provoke their indignation by openly saying so, he had recourse to an ingenious and symbolical method of stating his opinion. Having made two figures of wax representing, we may suppose, the contending parties, he carried them before Basil and Sergius, and cut off the right hand of that representing the emperor, and the tongue of that by which the patriarch was imaged, thus reproving the severe actions of the former and the unbridled words of the latter. Sergius placed on him his omophorion, the emperor his crown; and since that period the patriarch of Alexandria wears two omophoria and a double crown on his mitre. This title was afterwards absurdly assumed by the Jacobite patriarchs, who interpret it as proving their authority to settle any dispute which may arise as to the time of Easter.

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