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Geo'rgius of Cyprus

20. Of CYPRUS, the younger, afterwards GREGORIUS, has been said by some to have been of Latin parents, but this is shown by Rubeis, editor of the life of George, to be an error. He held the office of protapostolarius at Constantinople at the time of the accession of Andronicus Palaeologus the elder [ANDRONICUS II.] (A. D. 1282). He was a man of learning and eloquence, and the reviver, according to Nicephorus Gregoras, of the long-disused Attic dialect. During the reign of Michiael Palaeologus, father of Andronicus, he had been favourable to the union of the Greek and Latin churches, which Michael had much at heart; and supplied the emperor with arguments with which to press the patriarch of Constantinople (Joseph) and the other opponents of the union; but on the accession of Andronicus, who was opposed to the union, it is probable that George altered his views; for on the death of the patriarch Joseph, Andronicus determined that George, though as yet a layman, should be appointed to the office. The Greek church was at this time torn by dissension. Beside the dispute about the procession of the Holy Spirit, there had been an extensive schism occasioned by the deposition of Arsenius, patriarch of Constantinople [ARSENIUS, No. 1] early in the reign of Michael (A. D. 1266). The emperor was anxious to heal these dissensions, and possibly thought a layman more likely to assist him in so doing than a professed theologian; and George was recommended to the office by his literary reputation. The emperor, by tampering with some of the bishops, obtained his purpose; and George, after being rapidly hurried through the successive stages of monk, reader, deacon, and priest, was consecrated patriarch (April, A. D. 1283), and took the name of Gregory. The Arsenians, however, refused to return to the church, unless upon the testimony of heaven itself; and it was arranged at a synod or conference at Adramyttium, apparently just after the consecration of Gregory, that they and the party now predominant in the church (called Josephites from the late patriarch) should each prepare a book in support of their respective views, and that the two volumes should be submitted to the ordeal of fire. Both books, as might be expected, were consumed; and the Arsenians regarding this as a token that heaven was against them, submitted, and were at once led by the emperor in person, through a violent snow storm, to receive the communion from the hands of the patriarch Gregory. They soon, however, repented of their submission, and Gregory having excommunicated the refractory, the whole party broke off from the church again. This division was followed by troubles arising out of the controversy on the procession of the Holy Spirit, aggravated by the harshness used under Gregory's influence towards the ex-patriarch, Joannes or John Beccus or Veccus, a distinguished advocate of the doctrine of the Latin church; and a book, which Gregory had been ordered to prepare on the subject, and to the sentiments of which he had procured the approval of the emperor and several of the superior clergy, excited such animadversion and opposition, that, either in disgust or by constraint, he resigned the office of patriarch, A. D. 1289, and retired to a monastery. He died in the course of the following year, as many supposed, from grief and mortification. (Pachymer, De Mich. Palaeol. 5.12, De Andron. Paleol. 1.8, 14-22, 34-37, 2.1-11 ; Niceph. Greg. Hist. Rom. 5.2, 6.1-4.)


Published Works

The published works of George of Cyprus are as follows:--

Works published in Banduri's

These four pieces are given in Banduri's Imperium Orientale, pp. 942-961, ed. Paris.

1. Ἔκθεσις τοῦ τόμου τῆς πίστεως κατὰ τοῦ Βέκκου, (seu ).

This was the work which led to his troubles and consequent abdication.

2. Ὁμολογία,

Delivered in consequence of the outcry against the preceding work.

3. Ἀπολογία πρὸς τὴν κατὰ τοῦ τόμου μέμψιν ἰσχυρωτάτη,

4. Πιττάκιον

This is a letter to the emperor Andronicus, complaining of the wrong done to him.

5. Ἐγκώμιον εἰς τὴν Θάλασσαν,


Published by Bonaventura Vulcanius, with a poem of Paulus Silentiarius, 8vo., Leyden, 1591. These two pieces were published both in a separate volume, and with the Περὶ Κόσμου, De Mundo, of Aristotle. The Encomium Maris has been since reprinted.



in alphabetical order, subjoined to the edition of the Proverbia of Michael Apostolius by Pantinus, 8vo., Leyden, 1619.

7. Λόγος εἰς τὸν ἅγιον καὶ μεγαλομάρτυπα καὶ τροπαιοφόρον Γεώργιον,


This encomium on St. George of Cappadocia [GEORGIUS, No. 7. above,] is printed in the Acta Sanctorum, April Vol. III. A Latin version is given in the body of the volume, pp. 123-131, and the Greek original in the Appendix, pp. xxv--xxxiv.


This is given by Fabricius as a separate work; we suspect that it is identical with the Proverbia, No. 6.


8vo., Col., 1536.



An extract from this was prefixed to the edition of the Chronicon of Acropolita [ACROPOLITA], by Theodore Dousa, 8vo. Leyden, 1614, and to the Paris edition.



This Greek memoir of George was published by J. F. Bernard de Rubeis, a Dominican, within a Latin version, notes, and dissertations, 4to. Venice,, 1753, and was shown by the editor to be an autobiography.

Works still in MS.

Many other works of George of Cyprus remain in MS.

Further Information

Fabric. Bibl. Gr. vol. viii. p. 57, &c.; Allaties, Ibid. p. 127, &c.; Cave, Hist. Lit. vol. ii. p. 329; Oudin, Comment. de Eccles. vol. iii. Col. 556-564.

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