Theodotus I of Constantinople

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Theodotus I and Patriarch Theodotus I redirect here. They could also refer to Theodotus of Antioch, patriarch of Antioch in 420–429.

Theodotos I Kassiteras, Latinized as Theodotus I Cassiteras (Greek: Θεόδοτος Α΄ Κασσιτεράς), Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from April 1, 815 to January 821.

Theodotos was born in Nakoleia as the son of the patrikios Michael Melissenos by the sister of Eudokia, the last wife of Emperor Constantine V. Theodotos had become attached to the court bureaucracy and was a confidant of Emperor Michael I Rangabe. He served as an administrative official (spatharokandidatos), and retained imperial favor by espousing the cause of the usurping Emperor Leo V. After Leo's accession, Theodotos convinced the emperor in the righteousness of Iconoclasm, priming a saintly ascetic to urge Leo to adopt the example of Emperor Leo III the Isaurian.

After deposing the Orthodox Patriarch Nikephoros in 815, Emperor Leo V had Theodotos tonsured and appointed him patriarch. The elderly official is described as meek, uneducated, and virtuous, although his previous actions had exhibited a taste for intrigue. Theodotos was charged with holding luxurious and frivoulous banquets, scandalizing some of the more conservative members of the clergy. Theodotos presided over the synod of Constantinople in 815 which reinstituted Iconoclasm, although much of the Iconoclast effort was driven by other clerics, including the later Patriarchs Antony I and John VII. In the aftermath of this synod Theodotos is representing as torturing by starvation at more than one Iconodule abbot in an attempt to force them into agreement with his ecclesiastical policy.


  • The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • J.B. Bury, A History of the Eastern Roman Empire from the Fall of Irene to the Accession of Basil I (A.D. 802–867), London, 1912.
Titles of Chalcedonian Christianity
Preceded by
Nikephoros I
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by
Antony I