7. Of CONSTANTINOPLE, 2. Joseph, who pre viously held the archbishopric of Ephesus, was elected, A. D. 1416, patriarch of Constantinople. Some writers have placed his appointment to the patriarchate A. D. 1424; but the date given above on the authority of Sylvester Sguropulus, or Syropulus (Hist. Concil. Florent.
9.16), is, we believe, more correct.
The emperor Joannes Palaeologus II. was extremely anxious, for political reasons, to promote the union of the Greek and Latin churches: the patriarch did not oppose this, but contended for holding the council at Constantinople; but after a time the emperor prevailed on him to alter his determination, and to send legates to the council of Basel, A. D. 1434. (Acta Concil. Basil. Sessio
The heads of the Greek church were, however, drawn over by the pope to embrace his part in the dispute with the council of Basel, and determined to attend the rival council of Ferrara, A. D. 1433, afterwards transferred to Florence.
The patriarch Joseph attended this council; and though he vainly attempted, by various devices, to avoid recognising the precedence of the pope, he showed himself a warm supporter of the proposed union, urging upon his companions and attendants the necessity of conciliating the Latins. Towards the close of the council he fell ill, and during his illness was induced to subscribe the dogmas of the Latin church in the points in dispute, partly, according to Sguropulus, by the bad faith of Bessarion, who having, at Joseph's request, read to him the judgments of the fathers on these points, made various omissions and alterations, to suit his purpose. Joseph, however, appears to have made up his mind to yield, and probably only required an excuse: he bitterly rebuked some Greek prelates, who showed less pliability than himself.
He died at Florence before the conclusion of the council, June 10. A. D. 1439. Joseph wrote Epistola ad Concilium Busiliense
and Bulla plumbea missa Concilio Basiliensi,
given in a Latin version in the Concilia.
delivered at the Council of Florence, and his Τελευταῖα γνώμη
, Extrema Sententia,
written the night of his death, are also given in Greek and Latin in the Concilia.
(Vols. xii. col. 545, 571, xiii. col. 482, 494, ed. Labbe; vols. viii. col. 1189, 1215. 9.393, 405, ed. Hardouin; vols. 29.97, 126, 31.994, 1008, ed. Mansi.) And one or two of his speeches are given by Sguropulus. (Concilia,
vol. cit. ;
Sguropulus, Historia Concil. Florentini, passim ;
Cave, Hist. Litt.
vol. ii. Appendix,
p. 118; Fabric. Bibl. Gr.
vol. xi. p. 479.)