Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
VI: The Latin Empire of Constantinople, 1204-1261, pp. 186-233 PDF (13.5 MB)
196 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II he denounced it. But none the less he confirmed Morosini, whom he promoted to be deacon, priest, bishop, and archbishop, and on whom he bestowed certain privileges, including that of anointing kings. Indeed, Innocent III might have preferred to see the patriarchal throne of Constantinople vacant, and to have had the opportunity to use it as a card in negotiating with the Greeks for a union between the churches. But his hand was forced; he wanted further Venetian assistance in the east. Faced with a fait accompli, he made the best of it. He even revised current papal political theory in order to elevate the position of the new Latin patriarch. Most of Innocent's predecessors, especially since the schism of 1054, had held that only Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch, all founded directly or indirectly by Peter, were patriarchates. But the pope now adopted the position that the Byzantine church had held ever since 38 1: that Constantinople, as new Rome, held second place in the ecclesiastical hierarchy as well as the civil. Innocent III endorsed the theory of five patriarchates. His letters associate Constantinople especially with the apostle John, who preached to the Greeks in Asia; the eagle, which, with the other beasts in Revelation 4, stands close to the throne, represents both John and Constantinople. As the eagle flies higher than other birds, and as John was the last and greatest of the apostles, so the patriarchate of Constantinople is the latest but the greatest of the patriarchates; it owes its elevation, however, to Rome. Innocent adopted the very language of the canon of the Council of Constantinople of 381, and this he later embodied in the fifth canon of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. The new political theory was well adapted to the new situation, in which the Latins held actual physical possession of Constantinople, and might use it to favor the twin papal policies of a successful crusade against the Moslems and a union between the Latin and Greek churches. Innocent continued his efforts to win the Greeks to accept the supremacy of Rome. In December 1204, soon after the Latin conquest, his legate cardinal Peter Capuano summoned the Greek clergy of Constantinople to a colloquy in Hagia Sophia. This interchange was apparently only a long and inconclusive debate, after which Peter commanded the Greeks to conform. In 1205 Benedict, cardinal-priest of St. Susanna, another legate, had stopped in Athens and Thessalonica on his way out to Constantinople, and had held conciliatory discussions with the Greeks on the procession of the Holy Ghost and the use of unleavened wafers for the mass.
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