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Photius

c.820-c.895. Patriarch of Constantinople. Born into an aristocratic iconodule family which had suffered persecution, he attained learning renowned in his own day for its breadth and depth, and confirmed by modern research. He taught in the imperial university and also, as was customary, functioned as a civil servant and diplomat. In 855 he was a member of a diplomatic mission to the Arabs, concerned with exchange of prisoners. After his return, palace intrigues between Theodora and Michael III led to the deposition of Ignatius from the patriarchate in 858. Photius, still a layman, was elected his successor, receiving the ecclesiastical orders within the space of one week, a procedure not without precedent. He was consecrated by Gregory Asbestas, whom Ignatius had deposed.