Joseph II of Constantinople

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Joseph II of Constantinople, fresco by Benozzo Gozzoli, Cappella dei Magi, Florence

Joseph II (1360–1439) was Patriarch of Constantinople from 1416 to 1439.

Born the son of Ivan Shishman of Bulgaria and his wife (either 1st wife Kira Maria or, since he was the youngest son, more likely 2nd wife Dragana of Serbia who is often quoted as mother of Joseph's older brothers) in 1360, little is known of his early life before he became a monk on Mount Athos. He became Metropolitan of Ephesus in 1393, before being elected Patriarch of Constantinople on 21 May 1416. Together with Byzantine Emperor John VIII Palaiologos, 23 Metropolitan bishops and countless scholars and theologians, he took part in the Council of Florence. While in Florence, he was quartered in the Palazzo Ferrantini. He is portrayed in Benozzo Gozzoli's frescoes in the Magi Chapel of Palazzo Medici Riccardi, which celebrates the entrance of the Byzantine dignitaries in the city.

Joseph was very old and ill and died within 2 months on 10 June 1439. His death caused much grief to all present at the Council, as he was a fervent supporter of union between the Churches. His grave in the Dominican convent church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence survives, with an elaborate fresco portrait in a semi-Byzantine style. He was succeeded as Patriarch of Constantinople by Metrophanes II, who was appointed by Emperor John VIII on account of his similarly pro-unionist sentiments.


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Eastern Orthodox Church titles
Preceded by
Euthymius II
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by
Metrophanes II