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St. Theophanes the Confessor

VIII/IX Centuries
A Byzantine monastic and chronicler, St. Theophanes (called the Confessor or the Chronicler) was related to the Macedonian royal family and was educated at the imperial court at Constantinople, where he later served under Leo IV the Isaurian. Theophanes and his wife became monastics after two years of marriage, and he founded two monasteries, one on Mt. Sigriane and another on the island of Kalonymous. He was the abbot of the latter. An outspoken iconodule, Theophanes participated in the Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nicæa (787). Between 810 and 814, Theophanes composed his Chronographia, a continuation of the work of his friend George the Synkellos, whose history ends at 284. Theophanes' sources are now lost, and his is the most complete extant history of VII and VIII Century Byzantium. The work describes the Arab seige of Constantinople (674-8) and the use of Greek fire, but modern historians complain that Theophanes lacks insight and objectivity.

Leo V the Armenian, an iconoclast, imprisoned Theophanes and had him tortured. The emperor exiled him in 818 to Samothrace, where he died from the wounds he had received in prison.

Karen Rae Keck


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