medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
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Tarasius, patriarch of Constantinople (d. 806). The secularly well educated Tarasius (also Tharasius; in Greek, Tarasios) belonged to a prominent family of Constantinople. His father had been city prefect and he himself is attested as imperial protoasecretis in 780. Tarasius was not in Holy Orders when in December 784 he was elected patriarch at the behest of the empress Irene. Her chosen instrument for the restoration of the icons, he progressed swiftly through the major orders and secured pope Hadrian I's grudging acceptance of his elevation. Tarasius proceeded in 786 and 787 to manage the Second Council of Nicaea (the Seventh Ecumenical Council), at which iconoclasm was condemned.
For the remainder of his pontificate Tarasius attempted to avoid domination both by rigorists at the Stoudios monastery and by the emperor Constantine VI, whose bigamous second marriage he declined to solemnize but nonetheless managed to countenance. Tarasius also abolished fees for the ordination and promotion of priests. He endowed a hospital, built homes for the indigent, and provided the poor of his city with a monthly donation of food and clothing. In other actions, Tarasius consecrated St. George of Amastris as bishop of that city and ordained St. Macarius of Pelecete priest after the latter's election as hegumen of the Pelecete monastery. His Bios by his secretary Ignatius (BHG 1698) presents him as holy and much put upon. Personally ascetic, Tarasius was venerated as a saint after his death. In the Synaxary of Constantinople and in the latter's descendants in Orthodox and other churches his feast falls on 25. February. Prior to its revision of 2001 the Roman Martyrology also commemorated Tarasius under that day; now it commemorates him under 18. February.
Some medieval images of Tarasius of Constantinople:
a) Tarasius as depicted in the late thirteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1295) by Eutychios and Michael Astrapas in the church of the Peribleptos (now Sv. Kliment Ohridski) in Ohrid:
b) Tarasius as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. ca. 1312 and 1321/1322) in the southeast little dome of the monastery church of the Theotokos at Gračanica in, depending upon one's view of the matter, either Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo:
c) Tarasius (lower register at far left; after him Sts. Alexander of Drizipara, Marcellus of Apamea, and Theodore the Fool) as depicted in a February calendar composition in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1313 and 1318; conservation work in 1968) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. George in Staro Nagoričane in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:
d) Tarasius (at upper left in the panel at upper left; the martyr is Alexander of Drizipara and the other bishop is either Marcellus of Apamea or Reginus of Scopelus) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century set of miniatures from Thessaloniki (betw. 1322 and 1340) for the Great Feasts (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gr. th. f. 1, fol. 28v):
e) Tarasius (at left; at center, Christ Emmanuel; at right St. Metrophanes of Constantinople) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (1330s) on the triumphal arch of the the church of the Hodegetria in the Patriarchate of Peć at Peć in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:
f) Tarasius (at right; at left, St. Ignatius of Antioch) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) in the altar area of the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending upon one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:
Detail view (Tarasius):
g) Tarasius as depicted in the earlier sixteenth-century frescoes (1545 and 1546) by Theofanis Strelitzas-Bathas (a.k.a. Theophanes the Cretan) in the katholikon of the Stavronikita monastery on Mt. Athos:
(matter from an older post lightly revised)
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