Michael I of Constantinople Edit
Michael I (Greek: Πατριάρχης Μιχαήλ Α') is the 271st and current Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, he is regarded as the primus inter pares (first among equals), and as the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide.
Born Konstantinos Drakonidis (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Δρακωνιδης), he would be widely regarded as one of the empire's foremost theological teachers and monastics. He would serve 24 years of monastic study in the monastery of Simonospetras in Mount Athos where he would be ordained a priest, and later go on to become a member of the council of the Holy Synod and eventually Ecumenical Patriarch.
Michael's tenure as Ecumenical Patriarch has been characterized by intra-Orthodox cooperation, anti-communist, and anti-atheist in dialogue. He has devoted much of his focus both past and present to the eradication of heresy and blasphemy among the community, as well as the promotion of moral judgment and religious prominence.
Early life Edit
Michael (born Konstantinos Drakonidis or Κωνσταντίνος Δρακωνιδης) was born in Sinope (Σινώπη) to a peasant family. His father, Σταύρος, was a priest of a local church and the church in which he would develop his keen interest in theology. At the church he received a good education in the Byzantine tradition, which exercised great political, cultural and religious influence in the empire. Michael showed himself serious and ascetic; eventually enrolling in the The Imperial University of Constantinople in the goal of furthering his theological knowledge and the study of Orthodox Christianity. After concluding his studies, Michael left for Mount Athos. Athonite monks were frequent visitors to Constantinople-lectures perhaps made him determined to leave.
Mount Athos Edit
Upon arriving at Athos, he entered into the Simonospetras Monastery where he would receive the monastic name of Michael (Μιχαηλ). Michael would commit his life for 14 years of service in Mount Athos, gaining extensive theological knowledge and spiritual power, which he would later use in his various pilgrimages to the Holy Land and the cities of the empire.
After departing from Mount Athos, Michael left for a trip to the Holy Land. He visited almost all the holy places of the area, as well as meeting with the Patriarch of Jerusalem and his court of monks and prelates. Along his return journey he visited Nicaea in which time he would first meet Byzantine Emperor Bluemin and his royal court in the city. After a further 4 years in the monasteries of Mount Athos, Michael would leave for his second set of pilgrimages, this time spending 8 years preaching in and around the Holy Land, Arabia, and Syria.
Ascension to the Patriarchate Edit
After a further 10 years of monastic study and theological practice in Mount Athos, Michael would be visited by the Emperor for the second time, a first at Mount Athos, seeking spiritual guidance. It was at this time also that the previous Patriarch of Constantinople would die, leaving a vacancy in need of filling. In concurrence with the Holy Synod, the Emperor insisted on Konstantinos to take up the role. Initially reluctant to leave his duties at Simonospetras and Mount Athos, he would accept the decision of the Holy Synod and the Emperor a month later. He would be installed as Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople shortly after by Emperor Bluemin.