2. CONFESSOR, patriarch of Constantinople, was called Ὁμολογέτα
, or Confessor,
on account of his firm adherence to the worship of images.
He was a native of Syracuse, where he was born towards the close of the eighth century of our era, but went to Constantinople and took holy orders, after giving his property to the church and the poor. For some time he lived in a convent in the island of Chios.
The severe measures of the emperor Leo Armenus induced him to take refuge among the orthodox in Rome, but he returned to Greece after the death of Leo, in 820. Shortly afterwards he was sent by Nicephorus, patriarch of Constantinople, as ambassador to pope Pashalis, who entrusted him with a letter to Michael, in order to persuade the emperor to behave less harshly against the orthodox. For this service poor Methodius paid very dearly. Michael, offended by the pope's letter, ordered seven hundred lashes to be inflicted upon the back of Methodius, who, half dead, was thrown into an awful dungeon in one of the islands of the Propontis, where he would have perished from want of food had not a poor fisherman accidentally discovered him, and kept him alive by occasional supplies of bread and fish.
He remained there several years; but being a man of great talents and acknowledged skill in administrative affairs, he was recalled by Theophilus, son and successor of Michael, who gave him suitable apartments in his own palace.
In a short time Methodius obtained great influence at the court; but his orthodox principle caused him a second flogging and a second imprisonment in his former dungeon. Again released, he returned to Constantinople and was compelled to accompany Theophilus in his campaigns against the Arabs, the emperor being in want of his talents, although he did not trust him sufficiently to leave him in the capital. His life, however, was far from being agreeable, several plots having been made to ruin him: among other charges brought forth against him was that of having committed fornication with a reputed courtisan, who declared she was pregnant by the pious bishop; but Methodius cleared himself of this imputed misdemeanour. Theophilus died in 842.
He was succeeded by his widow, Theodora, who reigned for her infant son, Michael III.; and being a professed friend of images, she bestowed her powerful protection upon Methodius, and caused him to be chosen patriarch of Constantinople in the very year of his accession (842).
This high office Methodius held till his death, on the 14th of June, 846, displaying constantly the greatest activity in suppressing the iconoclasts, and restoring the worship of images.
Methodius was a very learned man, and wrote a considerable number of works on divinity, of which several have come down to us, and have been found well worthy of publication.
The most important are:--
The question whether, in composing this work, Methodius was guilty of plagiarism by stealing from the monk Hilduinus, who wrote on the same subject, caused a literary feud, which is largely discussed in Fabricius, to whom we refer the reader.
The Greek text, Florence, 1516, 8vo.; Paris, 1562, 8vo.
; Graece et Latine, in the second volume of " Opera S. Dionysii Areop.," Antwerp, 1634, fol.
Graece et Latine, by Gretserus, in the second volume of his work, De Cruce.
Graece et Latine, in Combéfis's edition of the works of Methodius Patarensis, Paris, 1644, fol.
a Latin version in Combéfis's Bibl. Pair.
; the text, incomplete, with a Latin version, in Leo Allatius, Diatriba de Methodiis.
published with a Latin version by Gentianus Herretus.
Graece et Latine, with notes, by Jac. Goar in Eucholog. Graecor.
in Lambecii Commentarii
Also ad Calcem Const. Manassae
in the Paris edition.
Leo Allatius, Diatriba de Methodiis;
Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. vii. p. 273; Cave, Hist. Lit.
p. 451, &c., ed. Geneva; Baronius, Annal.
ad annum 842; Theophan. Contin. 2.8, 3.24, 4.3, 6, 10; Simeon Metaphrasta, Theophil.100.23, Michael et Theodora,
100.3; Georg. Monach. Michael et Theodora,