was repeatedly called upon to intervene and arbitrate between prelates and their flocks in areas lacking imperial governance, for example Latin-dominated Cyprus or Melitene, long under Turkish rule. He found that such recognition of him as arbiter of church discipline and law was of value in dealings with the papacy, as a counterbalance to papal claims to universality A letter of Germanos addressed to the curia's cardinals in 1232 lists all those peoples who in obedience to their Byzantine mother-church have stayed firm in their Orthodoxy. They range from the Ethiopians and 'all the Syrians' to the Georgians ('Iberians'), Alans, 'the numberless people of the Rus' and the victorious realm of the Bulgarians.42 That this was more than a rhetorical declaration is evident from Germanos' role in 1228, when called on to determine the jurisdiction of Rus bishops in relation to their princes.43
After the restoration in 1261 of the ecumenical patriarchate to Constantinople the pressure on the patriarch to provide guidance to Orthodox communities mounted still further. A happy accident has preserved the patriarchal register for the period from 1315 to the beginning of the fifteenth century It provides a wealth of detail in comparison with what survives from earlier: copies of letters were quite carefully kept, while the proceedings and judgements recorded display competence in church law and regard for all interested parties. The patriarchate needed to put on record the ways in which it was vindicating its pre-eminence over other Orthodox churches: reorganising sees to take account of new circumstances; answering enquiries from external potentates and churchmen; adjudging disputes; and at least attempting to lay down the law. The patriarchs could, in the process, hope to inspire greater respect from the Greek-speaking congregations and secular authorities on their own doorstep, and this was not the least incentive for them.
A few examples may illustrate the manifold ways in which thirteenth- and fourteenth-century patriarchs of the New Rome provided pastoral care for Orthodox churches and communities. Many sees were instituted, raised in status or merged. While our evidence is seldom specific, the patriarchate seems to have been adapting to new circumstances with alacrity. For the creation of metropolitan sees and transfers of churchmen from one see to another, the emperor's authority was needed. Significantly, a tract dedicated to the subject of transfers underwent two revisions and updates around the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, while Andronikos II is said to
42 A. L. Tautu, Acta Honorii III (1216-1227) et Gregorii IX (1227-1241) (Rome, 1950), 251-2;
Was this article helpful?