Michael Cerularius

Michael Cerularius
born с 1000, Constantinople
died Jan. 21, 1059, Madytus, near Constantinople

Greek Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople (1043–58).

He thwarted Constantine IX's efforts to ally the Byzantine and Roman empires against the Normans, and he closed Latin churches in Constantinople that refused to use the Greek language and liturgy (1052). When negotiations broke down between Michael and the papal legates sent by Leo IX, each side excommunicated the other, initiating the Schism of 1054. Michael forced Constantine to support the schism, but in 1058 he was exiled by Constantine's successor.

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▪ patriarch of Constantinople
born c. 1000, , Constantinople
died Jan. 21, 1059, Madytus, near Constantinople

      Greek Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople from March 1043 to November 1058 who figured prominently in the events leading to the Schism of 1054 (1054, Schism of), the formal severing of Eastern Orthodoxy from Roman Catholicism.

      Although Cerularius was educated for the civil service rather than for an ecclesiastical career, he was named patriarch in 1043 by the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX Monomachus. Cerularius' ambitious desires for political power, coupled with his inflexible belief in the autonomy of the Eastern Church, led him to thwart Constantine's attempts to ally the Byzantine and Roman empires in defense against the Normans. In 1052, partly in response to concessions that Constantine made to Pope Leo IX (Leo IX, Saint), Cerularius decided to force the Latin churches in his diocese to use the Greek language and liturgical practices; when they refused to do so, he ordered them closed.

      In 1054, when Pope Leo sent three legates to Constantinople to negotiate an alliance with the Byzantine Empire, Cerularius again obstructed Constantine's and Leo's efforts by refusing to meet with the legates. In the midst of these negotiations, however, Pope Leo died, and one of his legates, the French cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, took advantage of the papal vacancy to retaliate against Cerularius. On July 16, 1054, Humbert entered Constantinople's cathedral, Hagia Sophia, and excommunicated Cerularius and his clergy. In response, Cerularius convened a Holy Synod and excommunicated all the legates. Constantine's efforts to effect a reconciliation failed, and the schism between Rome and Constantinople was final.

      Cerularius continued to flex his political muscles, ultimately constraining Constantine to support the schism. He had less control, however, over Constantine's successor, Emperor Isaac I Comnenus, who dethroned Cerularius in 1058 and drove him into exile. Cerularius died soon thereafter.

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Universalium. 2010.

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