Tarasius patriarch of Constantinople, was a zealous and active supporter of image- worship in the time of the empress Irene. SEE ICONOCLASM. He first held the secular position of secretary of state, but was chosen, though a layman, to fill the patriarchal office by both the court and the people (A.D. 784). His election gave great offence to Rome, but he was eventually recognized by Hadrian I on the ground of his avowed intention to restore the worship of images in the Greek Church. A synod to promote the unifying of the Church of Constantinople with other churches, which he had suggested as a condition of his acceptance of the patriarchate, met in 785, but was compelled by a mob to adjourn to Nicea, where it reconvened in 787. In this body the papal legates were accorded the first place and the patriarch of Constantinople the second, and the latter heartily endorsed the new creed, which determined that worship, in the exercises of kissing, bowing the knee, illuminations, and burning of incense, should be rendered to the images of the human person of Christ and of Mary, the angels, apostles, prophets, and all saints; but not such worship as is due to the Divine Being only (Τὴν τιμητικὴν προσκύνησιν-οὐ μὴν τὴν ἀληθινὴν λατρείαν, ἣ πρέπει μόνῃ τῇ θείᾷ φύσει). All laws directed against the worship of images were anathematized. In his own person, Tarasius was also especially active in the work of converting the opponents of image-worship. In the matrimonial affairs of Constantine, the son of Irene, Tarasius played an unworthy part. He protested at first against the rejection of queen Maria and the substitution for her of Theodota, but soon gave way to the wishes of the court, and thereby came into collision with the monks, who regarded the emperor as excommunicated. Tarasius died in 806, and ranks among the saints of both the Greek and the Romish Church. His literary remains consist of letters and homilies (see. Walch, Entwufeiner vollst. Hist. d. Ketzereien, Spaltungen u. Religions streitigkeiten [Leips. 1782], 10:419-511). — Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

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