Studies on the Patriarchate of Constantinople

Jason Osequeda

The Social Sciences Division summer grant allowed me to spend significant time in the Joseph Regenstein Library using non-circulating items, notably Eduard Schwartz’s Acta Conciliorum Oecumenicorum. The plentiful hours that became available to me as a result of the grant were used to work with texts in the original Greek, which many of the documents were written in, if not Latin. As a result, I was able to make significant progress on my dissertation proposal. Currently, I am working with my adviser on making revisions to my proposal in order to prepare it for defense.

In my grant application, I explained that the focus of my dissertation is the empowerment and development of the patriarch of Constantinople. It has largely remained the same to this stage, although my summer research prompted me to add a new element to my investigation: an exploration of the secular power of the patriarchate. While the patriarch of Constantinople was most certainly first and foremost a religious office with spiritual responsibilities, like many other bishoprics the patriarch acquired secular or administrative duties. However, the patriarch of Constantinople was part of the administrative machinery of the Byzantine Empire and thus had very distinct secular duties that no other bishop possessed. I found that a large challenge to the onset of my research is that no document exists that explains or defines what the powers of the patriarchate were. Furthermore, there has been no comprehensive study of the early development of the patriarchate of Constantinople, despite its importance in both the history of Christianity and the Byzantine Empire. The Social Sciences Division summer grant has provided me with support crucial to investigating these matters and research that will help to fill a gap and shine new light on the importance of the patriarchate as a crucial office within the imperial administration of the Byzantine Empire.

I thank the Social Sciences Division for their generous summer support without which I would not have made as great progress as I have. I look forward to defending my proposal in the near future and writing a dissertation that will contribute to Byzantine scholarship.