Monday, October 29, 2012

The Proclamation of Theodore Komnenos Doukas

What follows below is the proclamation of the emperor Thedore Komnenos Doukas to the high rank of emperor of the Romans by a synod of bishops further in 1224. This event caused there now to be two major claimants for the imperial throne after 1204: John Vatatzes at Nikaia and now Theodore based out of Thessalonike. The document is very much of interest for how it makes the argument of what makes a person worthy of imperial rule after 1204. Driving out the Latins and restoring the Church is the main reason for these churchmen to see fit to proclaim Theodore emperor in addition to his royal background, though that would be more slim than the Grand Komnenoi of Trebizond.

It's an interesting letter! Enjoy!

Apokaukos, John. In Noctes Petropolitanae. Ed. Athanasios Papadopoulos-Kerameus. St. Petersburg, 1913. pp. 258-9

Translation by Scott Kennedy

[Action of the synod regarding the coronation of the despot Theodore as emperor]

The divine apostle when discussing belief in Christ says “with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” We the bishops over this western part, who occupy higher and lower seats, embrace this apostolic maxim, which we believe resulting in righteousness of the heart, that is to say the proclamation, crowning, and anointment of our mighty and holy lord emperor, lord [for kyr] Theodore Doukas, while we confess this with our mouths and write this with our hands. This is because he has become our deliverer behind God, our savior, and salvation in and of itself. He has borne many labors for the Christians here. He has perspired sweat many times on our behalf. It is appropriate to quote the poet [Homer] here, “passing sleepless nights and blood-filled days” he divvied them up with contests of war and conflicts for the extinction of the godless Latins who fought against us and furthermore the Scythians from Aimos. Common usage call him the “Yolk.” On account of this exertion, this sweat, this struggle, and he has restored all at once all western areas pertaining to us, which were held captive and destroyed, by his boundless sweat and excessive labor to their ancient Christian manner of life and state, and he has cleared them completely of the hard-to-number Latin and Scythian mobs, and he has won back many bishoprics of God and holy monasteries from Latin and Scythian pollution taking care to adorn the former refugee bishops of God with their own bishoprics and restoring the latter abbots again [to their monasteries], such that the former and latter again lead their own flocks of sheep. Better yet and and what is agreed upon by everyone is that he is the descendant of diverse emperors and justified in being elevated to the imperial honor as a fiery soldier and as a sleepless guardian. He has assumed the throne as recompense on agreement with bishops and judgment of priests, monks, soldiers, and the rest of all the Christians here. Thus he has assumed the rank of emperor and we confess that he alone is emperor and we crown him and anoint him and certify with our signatures below what is believed and confessed by us resulting in righteousness and salvation. In the month… [No month is given in the text]

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