May 16, 2023

Ecumenical Patriarch Parthenios II, Who Was Strangled by Janissaries on May 16th 1651

Patriarch Parthenios II, who was also known as Goliath or Kekeskines, came from Ioannina in Epirus. Having become a Hieromonk and then Metropolitan of Ioannina, with the actions of his spiritual father Patriarch Parthenios I he took over the Metropolis of Adrianople (1639-1644). Living mainly in Constantinople and as a member of the Local Synod, he was associated with the followers of Cyril Loukaris and especially with their leader Theophilos Korydaleas. On September 8, 1644, he was elected Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople supported by the loyalists of Loukaris.

He was known to be greedy and violent and followed an anti-papal policy. On December 12, 1644 he sent two letters to all the bishops asking them for additional money to pay off the debts of the Patriarchate, stipulating that whoever fails or refuses should be deposed. He overturned and annulled the decisions of the Synod of Iasi and the so-called "Orthodox Confession" of the Metropolitan of Kiev Peter Mogila, which caused the enmity of the Ruler of Moldavia, Vasile Lupu, who, questioned by the Turks, demanded that the Patriarch be thrown in prison. In 1646, he abolished all patriarchal exarchies and ordered them to be assigned to the local bishops.

In 1645, encouraged by the Dutch ambassador, Cornelius Haga, he decided to distribute copies of Maximos Kallipolites's translation of the New Testament into Modern Greek in Constantinople and Smyrna, resulting in the uprising of the papal faction led by Meletios Syrigos. When the latter publicly denounced the apostasy by demonstrating the specific heretical deviations of the translation, Parthenios did not distribute it, but he exiled Meletios to Kios near Prousa and began a campaign against the papal loyalists.

In November 1646 his opponents managed to depose him and exile him to Cyprus. Traveling to the place of his exile, he managed to escape and fled to Iasi in Romania, to the ruler John Basilikos, where he remained for two years. On October 29, 1648, he was re-elected Patriarch. In the three years of his second patriarchate, he changed his policy. This was partly done to approach the papal loyalists and partly to strengthen the finances of the Patriarchate. He turned against the Calvinists, while in 1649 he requested in writing the assistance of Emperor Ferdinand III in the fight against them and cooperated with his ambassadors in Constantinople.

When all was said and done, having many enemies on both sides, he found himself powerless.

In the Spring of 1651, the Jesuits with the support of the rulers Matthew of Wallachia and Basil Arvanites of Moldavia, sent him to Sultan Mehmed IV for collusion with the Russians and revolutionary dispositions. On May 16th 1651, he was arrested by a group of janissaries who strangled him and threw his body into the sea.

The Christians gathered the remains of the patriarch and buried them in the Monastery of Kamariotissa in Halki.

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