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The Status Of The Patriarchate Of Constantinople Before 1198

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Chapter Summary

Innocent III’s explanations for patriarchy did not develop without context: he drew upon, developed and ignored centuries of discussion and practice. This chapter indicates only those elements in the development of the concept of patriarch that resonate in Innocent’s work, or those that are conspicuously absent. In particular, the Byzantine understanding of patriarchy and pentarchy does not figure strongly in Innocent’s account. Concerning terminology in the chapter: “pentarchy” refers to the notion that, at the head of the Church are the patriarchs of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, that is, the “idea” of pentarchy and not necessarily a full-blown theory. Before the Fourth Crusade, Innocent III implicitly confronted the notion that the patriarch’s power derives from the emperor. In his dealings with the Greek patriarch and emperor, Innocent did not broach the issue of the patriarch’s ecclesiastical rank beyond insisting that the patriarch recognize his supreme papal authority.

Keywords: Alexandria; Antioch; Byzantine; Constantinople; Fourth Crusade; Innocent III; Jerusalem; patriarchy; pentarchy; Rome



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