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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)

Page 196

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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