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Timothy I of Constantinople

Timothy I or Timotheus I, patriarch of Constantinople (511 - 517), was appointed by the emperor Anastasius the day after the deposition of Macedonius.

Timothy had been priest and keeper of the ornaments of the cathedral, and was a man of bad character. He apparently adopted the Monophysite doctrines from ambition, not conviction. Two liturgical innovations are attributed to him, the prayers on Good Friday at the church of the Virgin, and the recital of the Nicene Creed at every service, though the last is also ascribed to Peter the Fuller. He sent circular letters to all the bishops, which he requested them to subscribe, and also to assent to the deposition of Macedonius. Some assented, others refused, while others again subscribed the letters but refused to assent to the deposition of Macedonius. The extreme Monophysites, headed by John Niciota, patriarch of Alexandria, whose name he had inserted in the diptychs, at first stood aloof from him, because, though he accepted the Henoticon, he did not reject the Council of Chalcedon, and for the same reason Flavian II of Antioch and Elias of Jerusalem at first communicated with him.

When Severus of Antioch became Patriarch of Antioch, he assembled a synod which condemned that council, after which act Severus communicated with him. Timothy sent the decrees of his synod to Jerusalem, where Elias refused to receive them. Timothy then incited Anastasius to depose him (Liberat. 18, 19; Mansi, viii. 375). He also induced the emperor to persecute the clergy, monks, and laity who adhered to Macedonius, many of whom were banished to the Oasis in the Thebaid. His emissaries to Alexandria anathematized from the pulpit the council of Chalcedon. Within a year of his accession Timothy directed that the Ter Sanctus should be recited with the Monophysite addition of "Who was crucified for us." On November 4 and 5 this caused disturbances in two churches, in which many were slain, and the next day a terrible riot broke out which nearly caused the deposition of Anastasius. Timothy died April 5, 517. Vict. Tun. Chron.; Marcell. Chron.; Theod. Lect. ii. 28, 29, 30, 32, 33; Evagr. iii. 33; Theophanes; Tillem. Mém. eccl. xvi. 691, 698, 728.


This article uses text from A Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., with an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies by Henry Wace.

Preceded by:
Macedonius II
List of Constantinople patriarchs Succeeded by:
John Cappadocia