Tarasius

c.730-806. Patriarch of Constantinople. Born in Constantinople, a well-educated layman and granduncle of Photius, he was secretary to the regent, Irene II, during the infancy of Constantine VI. At Irene's insistence he was elected patriarch, succeeding Paul in 784. He sought better relations with Rome, and persuaded Irene and Pope Hadrian I to call a council to condemn iconoclasm (see Iconoclastic Controversy). An attempt to assemble it at Constantinople (786) failed through rioting inspired by iconoclasts. It met eventually in Nicea (787) under Tarasius's presidency as the seventh ecumenical council. Iconoclasm was condemned and the orthodox doctrine of image- veneration defined. Tarasius exercised leniency toward inconoclastic bishops who recanted, but was forced by rigorist monks to act against simony. In 795 he was attacked for his failure to condemn the adulterous second marriage of Constantine VI, though after Constantine's deposition he excommunicated the monk who performed the ceremony. In 802 he crowned as emperor Nicephorus, who had dethroned Irene.