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Sergius

d.638. Patriarch of Constantinople. Born in Syria, he quickly gained preferment in the church and was consecrated patriarch in 610. Emperor Heraclius looked to him for advice in ecclesiastical matters, and since a major problem was that of the Monophysites,* Sergius sought a way to reconcile them to the rest of the church. He approved the formula “one mode of activity” (energeia) in Christ, which had been agreed to by the emperor and Monophysite leaders. Later this doctrine was modified to state that there was only one will (mia thelemsis) in Christ. In the Ecthesis, written by Sergius and issued by the emperor in 638, Monothelitism* was formally propagated. It was accepted by two synods at Constantinople in 638 and 639, but the West rejected it and ultimately so did the East at the Council of Constantinople in 681. Apart from his fame as the propagator of Monothelitism, Sergius is traditionally regarded as the author of the famous Greek hymn, the “Akathistos,” in honor of the Virgin Mary, sung during Lent.