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The Confessions of a bogus Patriarch: Paul Tagaris Palaiologos, Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and Catholic Patriarch of Constantinople in the fourteenth century

  • Donald M. Nicol (a1)

Paul Tagaris was a Byzantine Greek, born perhaps in the 1320s. Only in quite recent years has his name been unearthed from the documents in which it had for long been lurking unobserved. Fr. R.-J. Loenertz, O.P., and Fr. Joseph Gill, S.J., have both, though independently, assembled most of the evidence for his remarkable career. This article can add only a few details to that evidence. But it has been thought worth-while to present the whole story as a connected narrative worthy of the attention of ecclesiastical historians.

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page 289 note 1 Gill, J., ‘Paul Palaeologus, Patriarch of Jerusalem and Constantinople’, Orientalia Christiana Periodica, xxxiv (1968), 129–32; Loenertz, R.-J., ‘Cardinale Morosini et Paul Paléologue Tagaris, patriarches, et Antoine Ballester, vicaire du pape, dans le patriarcat de Constantinople (1332–34 et 1380–87)’, Revue des études byzantines, xxiv (1966) (= Mélanges Venance Grumel, i), 224–56. See also Wirth, P., ‘Ein bisher unbekannter lateinischer Patriarch von Konstantinopel’, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, liv (1961), 8890; Krekić, B., ‘Deux notes concernants le patriarcat latin de Constantinople au xive siècle’, Revue des études byzantines, xx (1962), 202–9; Wirth, P., ‘Nochmals: ein bisher unbekannter lateinischer Patriarch von Konstantinopel’, Ostkirliche Studien, xii (1963), 176–9. Du Cange was aware of Paul's existence: Du Fresne Du Cange, C., Historia Byzantina, i: Familiae Augustae Byzantinae, Paris 1680, 254; cf. Papadopulos, A. Th., Versuch einer Genealogie der Palaiologen, 1259–1453, Munich 1938, 75, no. 117. Other references to him, some credulous some incredulous, are to be found in, e.g., Halecki, O., Un empereur de Byzance à Rome: vingt ans de travail pour l'union des églises et pour la défense de l'Empire d'Orient, 1355–1375, Warsaw 1930, 48 and n.3; Mercati, G., Notizie di Procoro e Demetrio Cidone, Manuele Caleca e Teodoro Meliteniota, ed altri appuntiper la storia della teologia e della letteratura bizantina del secolo XIV (Studi e Testi, 56, Vatican City 1931), 5 n.1; Beck, H.-G., Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich, Munich 1959), 732; idem., ‘Kirche und Klerus im staatlichen Leben von Byzanz’, Revue des études byzantines, xxiv (1966), 20 n.92.

page 290 note 1 Chronique du religieux de Saint-Denys, contenant le règne de Charles VI, de 1380 à 1422, ed. Bellaguet, L. (Collection de documents inédits sur l'histoire de France, première série, Histoire politique), i, Paris 1839, lib. x, cap. xiii, 636–43 (De quodam qui se finxit patriarcham Grecie), (cited hereafter as Chronique). His confession, undated, though included among documents of the year 1394–5, is printed in Miklosich, F. and Müller, J., Acta et Diplomata Graeca medii aevi sacra et profana, ii: Acta Patriarchatus Constantinopolitaane, ii, Vienna 1860, no. cccclxxvi, 224–30 (Confessio monachi Pauli Tagaris: Ἐξομολ⋯γησις μοναχο⋯ Πα⋯λου το⋯ Τ⋯γαρι ἣ ⋯μολογ⋯α. Το⋯ Περδ⋯κη ὑπομνηατογρ⋯φου (cited hereafter as MM., ii)).

page 290 note 2 Paul does not name his father, but he describes him as a soldier well-known for his bravery and his many victories over the enemies of the Romans, and as one who became related to the emperor by marriage (MM., ii. 224–5). I have, therefore, assumed that Paul was a son of that Manuel Tagaris, megas stratopedarches of the emperor Andronikos 11, who distinguished himself in the defence of Philadelphia against the Turks about 1320, and who was rewarded with the hand of the emperor's niece in marriage. See John Cantacuzenus, Historiae, i. 18; i. 91–3, ed. L. Schopen, Bonn 1828. Cantacuzene, like the monk of St. Denys (op. cit., 637), describes the Tagaris family as being of humble antecedents. Manuel seems to have been the first to attain distinction. Cf. Guilland, R., ‘Le Stratopédarque et le Grand stratopédarque’, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, xlvi (1953), 77 (reprinted in R. Guilland, Recherches sur les Institutions byzantines, i (Berliner byzantinische Arbeiten, xxxv, Berlin–Amsterdam 1967), 507). Manuel's second wife, Theodora Asenina Palaiologina, was a daughter of Eirene Palaiologina and the Bulgarian tsar John Asen 111, and so a niece of Andronikos 11. Cf. Papadopulos, Versuch einer Genealogie der Palaiologen, 28, no. 44. His first wife, and probably the mother of Paul, was one Doukaina Monomachina. She does not figure in Polemis, D. I., The Doukai: A contribution to Byzantine prosopography, London 1968. But see the patriarchal decree of May, indiction 11 (? 1388), in Rhalles, G. A. and Potles, M., Σ⋯νταγμα τ⋯ν θε⋯ων κα⋯ ἱερ⋯ν καν⋯νων, v, Athens 1855. 138–40.

page 291 note 1 MM., ii, 225–6. The patriarch's deputy was the hieromonachos Dorotheos.

page 291 note 2 For the journey of the patriarch Kallistos to Serres and his death there, see Cantac., iv. 50: iii. 360–2. The date of his departure from Constantinople (20 July 1363) is supplied by the Short Chronicle no. 47 in the collection of Sp. Lambros, Βραχ⋯α Χρονικ⋯, ed. Amantos, K. I., Μνημεῖα τ⋯ς Ἑλληνικ⋯ς Ἱστορ⋯ας, i, Athens 1932, 81 lines 23–4; cf. Chronicle no. 15, ibid., 31, lines 13–14; Chronicle no. 52, ibid., 89, lines 28–30; Charanis, P., ‘An important Short Chronicle of the Fourteenth Century’, Byzantion, xiii (1938), 351–2; Loenertz, R.-J., ‘La chronique brève Moréote de 1423’, Mélanges Eugène Tisserant, ii (Studi e Testi, 232, Vatican City 1964), 416.

page 291 note 3 MM., ii. 226. The second patriarchate of Lazaros in Jerusalem is to be dated from 1349 to about 1367: Wirth, P., ‘Der Patriarchat des Gerasimos und der zweite Patriarchat des Lazaros von Jerusalem’, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, liv (1961), 319–23. He and his flock were subjected to vicious persecution by the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt for some years. But Lazaros was eventually sent as the Sultan's envoy to the emperor John v in Constantinople: Cantac., iv. 15: iii. 99–104. He died some time after April 1368: Wirth, P., ‘Zur Chronologie des Patriarchen Lazaros von Jerusalem’, Jahrbuch der österreichischen byzantinischen Gesellschaft, ix (1960), 4950.

page 291 note 4 MM., ii. 226. Paul's accuser in Jerusalem was one Damianos, who is said to have had the support of the patriarch of Alexandria. The dates of the patriarchate of Michael 1 of Antioch are 1368 to 13 August 1375: Grumel, V., La Chronologie (Bibliothèque byzantine. Traité d'études byzantines, 1, ed. Lemerle, P., Paris 1958), 448.

page 292 note 1 MM., ii. 226–7. None of the standard histories of Georgia indicates any such competition for the throne in the 1360s or 1370s. Bagrat v seems to have been firmly in control of his kingdom from 1360 to 1395. His second wife was Anna, daughter of the emperor Alexios 111 Komnenos of Trebizond; and in 1369 he followed the long-established Georgian precedent of co-opting his eldest son George (vii), who duly succeeded him in 1395. See Toumanoff, C., ‘The Fifteenth-Century Bagratids and the institution of collegial sovereignty in Georgia’, Traditio, vii (1949–51), especially 170–2, 211–12; idem., in Cambridge Medieval History, iv. 1, Cambridge 1966, 627 and refs.

page 292 note 2 MM., ii. 227–8. Taurezion (Ταυρ⋯ζιον) is hard to locate; but in the context of Paul's itinerary it seems unlikely to have been Tabriz in Azerbaijan, which was at this time under Mongol rule. Earlier in the fourteenth century, Gregory Chioniades, the astronomer and mathematician who studied at Trebizond, had held the bishopric of Taurez (Τα⋯ρεζ) which, in his case, may very well be identified with Tabriz, the ancient Daras. See Pingree, D., ‘Δ⋯ρας τ⋯ ν⋯ν λεγ⋯μενου Τα⋯ρες’, Académie Royale de Belgique, Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres, 5 ser., xlviii (1962), 323–6; idem., ‘Gregory Chioniades and Palaeologan Astronomy’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, xviii (1964), 133–60, especially 141f. Taurezion, however, seems to have been a diocese of the patriarchate of Antioch, and one of the seven bishoprics under the metropolitan of Theodosiopolis (Erzurum) in the Taurus mountains, to the south-east of Trebizond. See Gelzer, H., ‘Ungedruckte und wenig bekannte Bistümerverzeichnisse der orientalischen Kirche’, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, i (1892), 268–89. There is a full discussion of the problem, with reference also to Paul Tagaris, in Chrysanthos, Ἡ Ἐκκλησ⋯α Τραπεζο⋯ντος (= Ἀρχεῖον Π⋯ντου, iv–v (1933)), 332–9. I am indebted for this reference to Dr. Anthony Bryer.

page 292 note 3 MM., ii. 228. Philotheos (Kokkinos) succeeded Kallistos as patriarch of Constantinople on 8 October 1364. It was his second term as patriarch and lasted until 1376: Grumel, La Chronologie, 437.

page 293 note 1 George Tagaris seems to have been another son of Manuel, and was likewise connected with the fortunes of the city of Philadelphia. He also held office as megas stratopedarches, under Andronikos iii in 1346. Cantac., iii. 96, 97; ii. 591, 597–8. Cf. Guilland, op. cit., 82 (510); Lemerle, P., L'Emirat d'Aydin: Byzance et l'Occident, Paris 1957, 222 and n.3. For Innocent vi's letter to him as ‘Nobili viro Georgio Tagaris megastratopedarchi on 18 August 1356, see Halecki, op. cit., 45 n. 1; Smet, J., The Life of Saint Peter Thomas by Philippe de Mézières (Textus et Studia Historica Carmelitana, ii, Rome 1954,) 203–4.

page 293 note 2 MM., ii. 228: περαιωθε⋯ς το⋯νυν πρ⋯ς τ⋯ν Ἀτταρ⋯αν …. Attaria, or the land of the Attarioi, is a variant spelling of Tataris or the country of the Tartars, which in this case may be taken to refer to the Tartars of the Golden Horde in south Russia. Cf. e.g., Giannelli, C., ‘Le récit d'une mission diplomatique de Georges le Métochite (1275–1276) et le Vat. gr. 1716’, in Scripta Minora di Ciro Giannelli, Rome 1963, 105 line 15: … τ⋯ν τ⋯ν Ἀτταρ⋯ων δεσπ⋯ζοντα …, which refers to the Ilkhan of the Mongols of Persia.

page 293 note 3 MM., ii. 228–9. The titular Latin patriarch from 1376 to 1378 was James of Itri, archbishop of Otranto: see Loenertz, op. cit., Revue des études byzantines, xxiv (1966), 228. William, bishop of Urbino, seems to have held the tide briefly in 1379: see Grumel, La Chronologie, 441; Thiriet, F.-Wirth, P., ‘La politique religieuse de Venise à Négrepont à la fin du xive siècle’, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, lvi (1963), 303. The date of Paul's appointment by Urban vi, in 1380, is given by himself in his deed of gift to Ancona of 4 March 1380: ‘… anno Domini millesimo trecentesimo octuagesimo dum essemus patriarcha Jerosolom(itanus) …’: Loenertz, op. cit., Document 5 (243 line 7f). Grumel, op. cit., 441, wrongly lists him as ‘Paul (archevêque de Corinthe ?) … vers 1379–?’.

page 294 note 1 MM., ii. 229, lines 1–5: … .

page 294 note 2 Chronique, 641.

page 294 note 3 Loenertz, op. cit., Document 5, 243–6; cf. 238–9 (no. 32).

page 294 note 4 Some doubt seems to prevail as to whether the relic in Ancona belongs to St. James the Less or to St. James, the son of Alphaeus. The Acta Sanctorum Bollandiana, under 1 May (28–9), record both of the donations to Ancona made by ‘Paulus Palaeologus, Patriarcha’; but the authors suggest that the alleged head of St. James really belongs to the son of Alphaeus (‘sed melius fortasse credetur esse pars de capite S. Jacobi Alphaei, unius e duodecim, uti mox dicemus de iis partibus, quas hic Antverpiae nos habemus’). The ribald de Plancy, J.-A.-S. Collin, Dictionnaire critique des reliques et des images miraculeuses, ii. Paris 1821, 1011 (s.v., Jacques le Mineure) remarks that while there are only four bodies of St. James the Less there are eleven heads, the seventh of which is in Ancona. (‘Le roi Geryon’, he adds, ‘qui avait trois têtes, nʼétait quʼun petit garçon à côté de ces saints-là’). As to St. Cyriacus of Ancona, Ughelli, F., Italia Sacra sive de episcopis Italiae, ed. Coleti, N., Venice 1717, i. cols. 327–8, records that his identification as a bishop of Jerusalem rather than a bishop of Ancona rests on the evidence of the Greek menologia and of one ‘Pauli Palaeologi, olim Hierosolymitani, dein Constantinopolitani Patriarchae’ who, when donating certain relics to the church at Ancona in 1380, asserted that Cyriacus had been twenty-seventh patriarch of Jerusalem. Ughelli thinks this to be mistaken. But for the Greek tradition, see Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca, 3rd ed. (Subsidia hagiographica graeca, 8a), ed. Halkin, F., Brussels 1957, i. 142: ‘Cyriacus. ep. Hierosolym. m. cum matre Anna et Admone sub Iuliano’.

page 295 note 1 Loenertz, op. cit., Document 6, 247–250; cf. 239 (no. 33).

page 295 note 2 Loenertz, op. cit., 246, lines 124 and 127–9: ‘littere autem de rubeo sunt manu filii imperatoris Constantinopolitani et dicunt sic, uidelicet Alexios despotes Paleologos’. Cf. ibid., 150, lines 140 and 144–5. J. Gill, op. cit., Orientalia Christiana Periodica, xxiv (1968), 130 and 132, proposed that Alexios Palaiologos should be a son either of John v or of Manuel 11. He could well be the Alexios Palaiologos who abjured the Roman Creed before the patriarch Antonios iv in 1395, though he is not designated either as a despot or as an emperor's son in his confession: MM., ii. 266, no. D1.

page 295 note 3 Loenertz, op. cit., 229, 239–40; Documents 7–10, 250–6. Thiriet, F.Wirth, P., op. cit., Byzantinische Zeitschrift, lvi (1963), 297303.

page 296 note 1 Chronique, 636, 637. SirHill, George (History of Cyprus, Cambridge 1948, ii. 435 n.4) reports the account of James i's coronation by Paul from the chronicle of St. Denys, but concludes that ‘the story is difficult to believe, and probably originated with the impostor himself’. Loenertz (op. cit., 229 and n.2), however, accepts the story as true.

page 296 note 2 Chronique, 638, 639. Loenertz, op. cit., 229–30.

page 296 note 3 Chronique, 638, 639; Loenertz, op. cit., 230. The mother of John v Palaiologos, Anne of Savoy, empress of Andronikos iii, was a sister of Aymon, father of Amadeo vi and grandfather of Amadeo vii of Savoy. But this relationship between the house of Savoy and the family of Palaiologos hardly made Paul Tagaris a relative of Amadeo.

page 297 note 1 Chronique, 638–41. Paul's interpreter in 1380 was a priest from Corfu called Antonios. Loenertz, op. cit., Document 6, 249, lines 118–20: ‘… cuius interpretis nomen est dominus Anthonius de Corfu, canonicus Corfiensis et capellanus dicti domini patriarce, sciens linguam Graecam et Latinam.’

page 297 note 2 Chronique, 640, 641: ‘… stans ante altare martirum beatorum, beatissimum Areopagitam Dyonisium Atheniensis civitatis, sedis patriarcalis, archiepiscopum extitisse coram omnibus affirmavit….’

page 298 note 1 Chronique, 640–3.

page 298 note 2 MM., ii. 158, no. ccccxxvii, ii: .

page 298 note 3 MM., ii. 229–30.

page 299 note 1 On Manuel ii's visit to western Europe see now Barker, J. W., Manuel II Palaeologus (1391–1425): a Study in Late Byzantine Statesmanship, Rutgers Byzantine Series, New Brunswick, N.J., 1969, especially 165–99.

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