Procopius of Constantinople

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Procopius
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
Church Church of Constantinople
Diocese Constantinople
See Ecumenical Patriarchate
Installed June 29, 1785
Term ended April 30, 1789
Predecessor Gabriel IV
Successor Neophytus VII
Personal details
Birth name Prokopios Pelecasis (Προκόπιος Πελεκάσης)
Born 1734
Sitsova, Messenia
Died 1803 or 1804
Sitsova, Messenia
Buried Monastery of Mardakios
Denomination Eastern Orthodox Church
Occupation Ecumenical Patriarch

Procopius (Greek: Προκόπιος), original surname Pelekasis (Greek: Πελεκάσης), (1734 – 1803 or 1804) served as Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople during the period 1785-1789.

Biography

He was born in Sitsova of Messenia in 1734. When he was 12 years old he followed his older brother, Neophytus, metropolitan bishop of Ganos and Chora (Eastern Thrace), who helped him finish basic education. Later he ordained him deacon and presbyter, and when he died in 1759, Procopius succeeded him, after request of the people of the metropolis.

He remained in this metropolis for 11 years, until 1770, when he was transferred to the Metropolis of Smyrna, which he managed to pacify after the disruption caused by his predecessor, Kallinikos. Procopius ordained Georgios Angelopoulos deacon and even made him protosyncellus of the metropolis; Angelopoulos would go on to become a Patriarch and a Saint, under the name of Gregory V. During his reign many churches were built, though it wasn't possible to get the permission for the construction of the church of Photine of Samaria.

During the period 1780-1782 Procopius was a member of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and resided in Constantinople.

On 29 June 1785 he was elected Patriarch of Constantinople. He was ascetic, modest and hard-working. He dealt with the economic and administrative issues of the Patriarchate, trying to limit the external influence in ecclesiastic issues. Thus he clashed with the ruler of Moldavia, Alexander Mavrokordatos Firaris, who had elected the metropolitan bishop of Moldavia, Romanos Leontas, on his own.

In 1787 the second Russo-Turkish War broke out and the Sultan forced Procopius to renounce the revolutionary movements, as well as gather more taxes and people to reinforce the Ottoman Forces. With his acquiescent stance he caused reactions and made enemies. With decree from the Sultan, Selim III, he was forced to resign on 30 April 1789 and was exiled to the Great Lavra in Mount Athos.

In 1797 he returned to his home village. Where he resided in a monastic cell next to the Church of Saint Nicholas of Sitsova. Procopius died in 1803 or 1804 and was buried next to the church. Later his bones were transported to the Monastery of Mardakios, after the cares of the metropolitan bishop of Messenia, Meletios Sakellaropoulos. When Chrysostomos Daskalakis was the metropolitan of Messenia, he unveiled a bust of his predecessor.

Sources

  • Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο
  • Encyclopaedia Papyrus Larousse Britannica, 2007, vol. 43, p. 650
  • Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World
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