The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, the Church of the East are termed patriarchs. The word is derived from Greek πατριάρχης, meaning "chief or father of a family", a compound of πατριά, meaning "family", ἄρχειν, meaning "to rule". A patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family; the system of such rule of families by senior males is termed patriarchy. A patriarch has been the logical choice to act as ethnarch of the community identified with his religious confession within a state or empire of a different creed; the term developed an ecclesiastical meaning, within the Christian Church. The office and the ecclesiastical circumscription of a Christian patriarch is termed a patriarchate. Abraham and Jacob are referred to as the three patriarchs of the people of Israel, the period during which they lived is termed the Patriarchal Age; the word patriarch acquired its religious meaning in the Septuagint version of the Bible.
In the Catholic Church, the bishop, head of a particular autonomous Church, known in canon law as a Church sui iuris, is ordinarily a patriarch, though this responsibility can be entrusted to a Major Archbishop, Metropolitan, or other prelate for a number of serious reasons. Since the Council of Nicaea, the bishop of Rome has been recognized as the first among patriarchs; that Council designated three bishops with this'supra-Metropolitan' title: Rome and Antioch. In the Pentarchy formulated by Justinian I, the emperor assigned as a patriarchate to the Bishop of Rome the whole of Christianized Europe, except for the region of Thrace, the areas near Constantinople, along the coast of the Black Sea, he included in this patriarchate the western part of North Africa. The jurisdictions of the other patriarchates extended over Roman Asia, the rest of Africa. Justinian's system was given formal ecclesiastical recognition by the Quinisext Council of 692, which the see of Rome has, not recognized. There were at the time bishops of other apostolic sees that operated with patriarchal authority beyond the borders of the Roman Empire, such as the Catholicos of Selucia-Ctesephon.
Today, the patriarchal heads of Catholic autonomous churches are: The Bishop of Rome, as head of the Latin Catholic Church The Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia and head of the Armenian Catholic Church, formed 1740, recognised 1742 The Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon and head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, formed 1552, recognised 1553 The Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria and head of the Coptic Catholic Church, established 1824 The Maronite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and head of the Maronite Catholic Church, established 685 The Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem, head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. However, differences exist in the mode of accession. Whereas the election of a major archbishop has to be confirmed by the pope before he may take office, no papal confirmation is needed for a newly elected patriarch before he takes office. Rather, a newly-installed patriarch is required to petition the pope as soon as possible for the concession of what is called ecclesiastical communion.
Furthermore, patriarchs who are created cardinals form part of the order of cardinal bishops, whereas major archbishops are only created cardinal priests. Titular patriarchs do not have jurisdiction over other Metropolitan bishops; the title is granted purely as an honor for various historical reasons. They take precedence after the heads of autonomous churches in full communion, whether pope, patriarch, or major archbishop; the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, established 1099. The Patriarch of the East Indies a titular patriarchal see, united to Goa and Daman, established 1886; the Patriarch of Lisbon, established 1716. The Patriarch of Venice, established 1451; the Patriarch of Aquileia – with rival line of succession moved to Grado - dissolved in 1752. The Patriarch of Grado – in 1451 merged with the Bishopric of Castello and Venice to form the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Venice; the Patriarch of the West Indies – a titular patriarchal see, vacant since 1963. The Latin Patriarch of Antioch – title abolished in 1964.
The titular Latin Patriarch of Alexandria – title abolished in 1964. The Latin Patriarch of Constantinople – title abolished in 1964; the Latin Patriarchate of Ethiopia – 1555 to 1663, never effective, only held by Iberian Jesuits The pope can confer the rank of Patriarch withou
A synod is a council of a church convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word synod comes from the Greek σύνοδος meaning "assembly" or "meeting", it is synonymous with the Latin word concilium meaning "council". Synods were meetings of bishops, the word is still used in that sense in Catholicism, Oriental Orthodoxy and Eastern Orthodoxy. In modern usage, the word refers to the governing body of a particular church, whether its members are meeting or not, it is sometimes used to refer to a church, governed by a synod. Sometimes the phrase "general synod" or "general council" refers to an ecumenical council; the word synod refers to the standing council of high-ranking bishops governing some of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches. The day-to-day governance of patriarchal and major archiepiscopal Eastern Catholic Churches is entrusted to a permanent synod. In Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches, synods of bishops are meetings of bishops within each autonomous Church and are the primary vehicle for the election of bishops and the establishment of inter-diocesan ecclesiastical laws.
A sobor is a formal gathering or council of bishops together with other clerical and lay delegates representing the church to deal with matters of faith, morality and canonical and cultural life. The synod in the Western churches is similar, but it is distinguished by being limited to an assembly of bishops; the term is found among those Eastern Orthodox Churches that use Slavic language, along with the Romanian Orthodox Church. The presence of clerical and lay delegates is for the purpose of discerning the consensus of the church on important matters. Kievan Rus' chronicles record the first known East Slavic church sobor as having taken place in Kiev in 1051. Sobors were convened periodically from on. Important sobors in the History of the Russian Orthodox Church are: Vladimir's Sobor in 1276 The Stoglavy Sobor in 1551 The Moscow Sobor of 1666–1667, to deal with disputes surrounding the ecclesiastical reforms of Patriarch Nikon The All-Russian Sobor of 1917, which restored the Moscow Patriarchate and elected Saint Tikhon as the first modern Patriarch of Moscow The All-Russian Sobor of 1988, called on the 1000th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus' to guide the church in the wake of glasnost and the loosening of the Soviet grip over the churchA bishop may call a sobor for his diocese, which again would have delegates from the clergy and parishes of his diocese, to discuss important matters.
Such diocesan sobors may be held only occasionally. In Roman Catholic usage and council are theoretically synonymous as they are of Greek and Latin origins both meaning an authoritative meeting of bishops for the purpose of church administration in the areas of teaching or governance. However, in modern use and council are applied to specific categories of such meetings and so do not overlap. A synod meets every three years and is thus designated an "Ordinary General Assembly." However, "Extraordinary" synods can be called to deal with specific situations. There are "Special" synods for the Church in a specific geographic area such as the one held November 16-December 12, 1997, for the Church in America. While the words "synod" and "council" refer to a transitory meeting, the term "Synod of Bishops" or "Synod of the Bishops", is applied to a permanent body established in 1965 as an advisory body of the pope, it holds assemblies at which bishops and religious superiors, elected by bishops conferences or the Union of Superiors General or appointed by the Pope vote on proposals to present for the pope's consideration, which in practice the pope uses as the basis of "post-synodal apostolic exhortations" on the themes discussed.
While an assembly of the Synod of Bishops thus expresses its collective wishes, it does not issue decrees, unless in certain cases the pope authorizes it to do so, then an assembly's decision requires ratification by the pope. The pope serves as president of an assembly or appoints the president, determines the agenda, summons and dissolves the assembly. Modern Catholic synod themes: X "The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST for the hope of the world" 1998 XI "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church 2005 XII "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church" 2008 XIII "New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith" 2012 Extraordinary General "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization" 2014 Meetings of bishops in the Roman empire are known from the mid-third century and numbered twenty by the time of the First Council of Nicaea. Thereafter they continued by the hundreds into the sixth century; those authorized by an emperor and attended by him came to be called ecumenical, meaning throughout the world.
Today, Council in Roman Catholic canon law refers to an irregular meeting of the entire episcopate of a nation, region, or the world for the purpose of legislation with binding force. Those contemplated in canon law are the following: An ecumenical council is an irregular meeting of the entire episcopate in communion with the pope and is, along with the pope
Second Bulgarian Empire
The Second Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state that existed between 1185 and 1396. A successor to the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Tsars Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, it was succeeded by the Principality and Kingdom of Bulgaria in 1878. Until 1256, the Second Bulgarian Empire was the dominant power in the Balkans, defeating the Byzantine Empire in several major battles. In 1205 Emperor Kaloyan defeated the newly established Latin Empire in the Battle of Adrianople, his nephew Ivan Asen II made Bulgaria a regional power again. During his reign, Bulgaria spread from the Adriatic to the economy flourished. In the late 13th century, the Empire declined under constant invasions by Mongols, Byzantines and Serbs, as well as internal unrest and revolts; the 14th century saw a temporary recovery and stability, but the peak of Balkan feudalism as central authorities lost power in many regions.
Bulgaria was divided into three parts on the eve of the Ottoman invasion. Despite strong Byzantine influence, Bulgarian artists and architects created their own distinctive style. In the 14th century, during the period known as the Second Golden Age of Bulgarian culture, literature and architecture flourished; the capital city Tarnovo, considered a "New Constantinople", became the country's main cultural hub and the centre of the Eastern Orthodox world for contemporary Bulgarians. After the Ottoman conquest, many Bulgarian clerics and scholars emigrated to Serbia, Wallachia and Russian principalities, where they introduced Bulgarian culture and hesychastic ideas; the name most used for the empire by contemporaries was Bulgaria, as the state called itself. During Kaloyan's reign, the state was sometimes known as being of both Vlachs. Pope Innocent III and other foreigners such as the Latin Emperor Henry mentioned the state as Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Empire in official letters. In modern historiography, the state is called the Second Bulgarian Empire, Second Bulgarian Tsardom, or the Second Bulgarian Kingdom to distinguish it from the First Bulgarian Empire.
An alternative name used in connection with the pre-mid 13th century period is the Empire of Vlachs and Bulgars. However, Arabic chronicles from the 13th century had used only the name of Wallachia instead of Bulgaria and gave the Arabic coordinates of Wallachia and specified that Walachia was named "al-Awalak" and the dwellers "ulaqut" or "ulagh" In 1018, when the Byzantine emperor Basil II conquered the First Bulgarian Empire, he ruled it cautiously; the existing tax system and the power of low-ranking nobility remained unchanged until his death in 1025. The autocephalous Bulgarian Patriarchate was subordinated to the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople and downgraded to an archbishopric centred in Ohrid, while retaining its autonomy and dioceses. Basil appointed the Bulgarian John I Debranin as its first archbishop, but his successors were Byzantines; the Bulgarian aristocracy and tsar's relatives were given various Byzantine titles and transferred to the Asian parts of the Empire. Despite hardships, the Bulgarian language and culture survived.
Most of the newly conquered territories were included in the themes Bulgaria and Paristrion. As the Byzantine Empire declined under Basil's successors, invasions of Pechenegs and rising taxes contributed to increasing discontent, which resulted in several major uprisings in 1040–41, the 1070s, the 1080s; the initial centre of the resistance was the theme of Bulgaria, in what is now Macedonia, where the massive Uprising of Peter Delyan and the Uprising of Georgi Voiteh took place. Both were quelled with great difficulty by Byzantine authorities; these were followed by rebellions in Thrace. During the Comnenian Restoration and the temporary stabilisation of the Byzantine Empire in the first half of the 12th century, the Bulgarians were pacified and no major rebellions took place until in the century; the disastrous rule of the last Comnenian emperor Andronikos I worsened the situation of the Bulgarian peasantry and nobility. The first act of his successor Isaac II Angelos was to impose an extra tax to finance his wedding.
In 1185, two aristocrat brothers from Tarnovo and Asen, asked the emperor to enlist them into the army and grant them land, but Isaac II declined and slapped Asen across the face. Upon their return to Tarnovo, the brothers commissioned the construction of a church dedicated to Saint Demetrius of Salonica, they showed the populace a celebrated icon of the saint, whom they claimed had left Salonica to support the Bulgarian cause and called for a rebellion. That act had the desired effect on the religious population, who enthusiastically engaged in a rebellion against the Byzantines. Theodore, the elder brother, was crowned Emperor of Bulgaria under the name Peter IV, after the sainted Peter I. All of Bulgaria to the north of the Balkan Mountains—the region known as Moesia—immediately joined the rebels, who secured the assistance of the Cumans, a Turkic tribe inhabiting lands north of the Danube river; the Cumans soon became an important part of the Bulgarian army, playing a major role in the successes that followed.
As soon as the rebellion broke out, Peter IV attempted to s
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Orthodox Church. It is the oldest Slavic Orthodox Church with some 6 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas, New Zealand and Asia. It was recognized as an independent Church by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in AD 870, becoming Patriarchate in 918/919; the Bulgarian Orthodox Church considers itself an inseparable member of the one, holy and apostolic church and is organized as a self-governing body under the name of Patriarchate. It is divided into thirteen dioceses within the boundaries of the Republic of Bulgaria and has jurisdiction over additional two dioceses for Bulgarians in Western and Central Europe, the Americas and Australia; the dioceses of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church are divided into 58 church counties, which, in turn, are subdivided into some 2,600 parishes. The supreme clerical and administrative power for the whole domain of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is exercised by the Holy Synod, which includes the Patriarch and the diocesan prelates, who are called metropolitans.
Church life in the parishes is guided by the parish priests, numbering some 1,500. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has some 120 monasteries in Bulgaria, with about 2,000 monks and nearly as many nuns. Eparchies in Bulgaria: Eparchy of Vidin Eparchy of Vratsa Eparchy of Lovech Eparchy of Veliko Tarnovo Eparchy of Dorostol Eparchy of Varna and Veliki Preslav Eparchy of Sliven Eparchy of Stara Zagora Eparchy of Plovdiv Eparchy of Sofia Eparchy of Nevrokop Eparchy of Pleven Eparchy of Ruse Eparchies abroad: Eparchy of Central and Western Europe. Christianity was brought to the Bulgarian lands and the rest of the Balkans by the apostles Paul and Andrew in the 1st century AD, when the first organised Christian communities were formed. By the beginning of the 4th century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the region. Towns such as Serdica, Philipopolis and Adrianople were significant centres of Christianity in the Roman Empire; the barbarian raids and incursions in the 4th and the 5th and the settlement of Slavs and Bulgars in the 6th and the 7th centuries wrought considerable damage to the ecclesiastical organisation of the Christian Church in the Bulgarian lands, yet they were far from destroying it.
Kubrat and Organa were both baptized together in Constantinople and Christianity started to pave its way from the surviving Christian communities to the surrounding Bulgar-Slavic mass. By the middle of the 9th century, the majority of the Bulgarian Slavs those living in Thrace and Macedonia, were Christianised; the process of conversion enjoyed some success among the Bulgar nobility. It was not until the official adoption of Christianity by Khan Boris I in 865 that an independent Bulgarian ecclesiastical entity was established. Boris I believed that cultural advancement and the sovereignty and prestige of a Christian Bulgaria could be achieved through an enlightened clergy governed by an autocephalous church. To this end, he manoeuvred between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Roman Pope for a period of five years until in 870 AD, the Fourth Council of Constantinople granted the Bulgarians an autonomous Bulgarian archbishopric; the archbishopric had its seat in the Bulgarian capital of Pliska and its diocese covered the whole territory of the Bulgarian state.
The tug-of-war between Rome and Constantinople was resolved by putting the Bulgarian archbishopric under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, from whom it obtained its first primate, its clergy and theological books. Although the archbishopric enjoyed full internal autonomy, the goals of Boris I were scarcely fulfilled. A Greek liturgy offered by a Byzantine clergy furthered neither the cultural development of the Bulgarians, nor the consolidation of the Bulgarian Empire. Following the Byzantine theory of "Imperium sine Patriarcha non staret", which predominated that a close relation should exist between an Empire and Patriarchate, Boris I greeted the arrival of the disciples of the deceased Saints Cyril and Methodius in 886 as an opportunity. Boris I gave them the task to instruct the future Bulgarian clergy in the Glagolitic alphabet and the Slavonic liturgy prepared by Cyril; the liturgy was based on the vernacular of the Bulgarian Slavs from the region of Thessaloniki. In 893, Boris I expelled the Greek clergy from the country and ordered the replacement of the Greek language with the Slav-Bulgarian vernacular.
Following Bulgaria's two decisive victories over the Byzantines at Acheloos and Katasyrtai, the government declared the autonomous Bulgarian Archbishopric as autocephalous and elevated it to the rank of Patriarchate at an ecclesiastical and national council held in 919. After Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire signed a peace treaty in 927 that concluded th
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state that existed in Southeastern Europe between the 7th and 11th centuries AD. It was founded in 681. There they secured Byzantine recognition of their right to settle south of the Danube by defeating – with the help of local South Slavic tribes – the Byzantine army led by Constantine IV. At the height of its power, Bulgaria spread from the Danube Bend to the Black Sea and from the Dnieper River to the Adriatic Sea; as the state solidified its position in the Balkans, it entered into a centuries-long interaction, sometimes friendly and sometimes hostile, with the Byzantine Empire. Bulgaria emerged as Byzantium's chief antagonist to its north; the two powers enjoyed periods of peace and alliance, most notably during the Second Arab siege of Constantinople, where the Bulgarian army broke the siege and destroyed the Arab army, thus preventing an Arab invasion of Southeastern Europe. Byzantium had a strong cultural influence on Bulgaria, which led to the eventual adoption of Christianity in 864.
After the disintegration of the Avar Khaganate, the country expanded its territory northwest to the Pannonian Plain. The Bulgarians confronted the advance of the Pechenegs and Cumans, achieved a decisive victory over the Magyars, forcing them to establish themselves permanently in Pannonia. During the late 9th and early 10th centuries, Simeon I achieved a string of victories over the Byzantines. Thereafter, he was recognized with the title of Emperor, proceeded to expand the state to its greatest extent. After the annihilation of the Byzantine army in the battle of Anchialus in 917, the Bulgarians laid siege to Constantinople in 923 and 924; the Byzantines, however recovered, in 1014, under Basil II, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Bulgarians at the Battle of Kleidion. By 1018, the last Bulgarian strongholds had surrendered to the Byzantine Empire, the First Bulgarian Empire had ceased to exist, it was succeeded by the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1185. After the adoption of Christianity, Bulgaria became the cultural center of Slavic Europe.
Its leading cultural position was further consolidated with the invention of the Glagolitic and Early Cyrillic alphabets shortly after in the capital Preslav, literature produced in Old Bulgarian soon began spreading north. Old Bulgarian became the lingua franca of much of Eastern Europe and it came to be known as Old Church Slavonic. In 927, the independent Bulgarian Patriarchate was recognized; the ruling Bulgars and other non-Slavic tribes in the empire mixed and adopted the prevailing Slavic language, thus forming the Bulgarian nation from the 7th century to the 9th century. Since the late 9th century, the names Bulgarians and Bulgarian gained prevalence and became permanent designations for the local population, both in literature and in common parlance; the development of Old Church Slavonic literacy had the effect of preventing the assimilation of the South Slavs into neighbouring cultures, while stimulating the formation of a distinct Bulgarian identity. The First Bulgarian Empire became known as Bulgaria since its recognition by the Byzantine Empire in 681.
Some historians use the terms First Bulgarian State, or First Bulgarian Tsardom. Between 681 and 864 the country was known as the Bulgarian Khanate, Danube Bulgarian Khanate, or Danube Bulgar Khanate in order to differentiate it from Volga Bulgaria, which emerged from another Bulgar group. During its early existence, the country was called the Bulgar state or Bulgar Khaghanate. Between 864 and 917/927, the country was known as the Principality of Bulgaria or Knyazhestvo Bulgaria. In English language sources, the country is known as the Bulgarian Empire. Parts of the eastern Balkan Peninsula were in antiquity inhabited by the Thracians who were a group of Indo-European tribes; the whole region as far north as the Danube River was incorporated into the Roman Empire by the 1st century AD. The decline of the Roman Empire after the 3rd century AD and the continuous invasions of Goths and Huns left much of the region devastated, depopulated and in economic decline by the 5th century; the surviving eastern half of the Roman Empire, called by historians the Byzantine Empire, could not exercise effective control in these territories other than in the coastal areas and certain cities in the interior.
Nonetheless, it never relinquished the claim to the whole region up to the Danube. A series of administrative, legislative and economic reforms somewhat improved the situation but despite these reforms disorder continued in much of the Balkans; the reign of Emperor Justinian I saw temporary recovery of control and reconstruction of a number of fortresses but after his death the empire was unable to face the threat of the Slavs due to the significant reduction of revenue and manpower. The Slavs, of Indo-European origin, were first mentioned in written sources to inhabit the territories to the north of the Danube in the 5th century AD but most historians agree that they had arrived earlier; the group of Slavs that came to be known as the South Slavs was divided into Antes and Sclaveni who spoke the same language. The Slavic incursions in the Balkans increased during the second half of Justinian I's reign and while these were pillaging raids, large-scale settlement began in the 570s and 580s; this migration is associated with the arrival of the Avars who settled in the plains of Pannonia between the rivers Danube and Tisza in the 560s subjugating various Bulgar and Slavic tribes in the process.
Consumed in bitter wars with th
Theodore Komnenos Doukas
Theodore Komnenos Doukas was ruler of Epirus and Thessaly from 1215 to 1230 and of Thessalonica and most of Macedonia and western Thrace from 1224 to 1230. He was the power behind the rule of his sons John and Demetrios over Thessalonica in 1237–1246. Theodore was the scion of a distinguished Byzantine aristocratic family related to the imperial Komnenos and Angelos dynasties. Nothing is known about Theodore's life before the conquest of Constantinople and dissolution of the Byzantine Empire by the Fourth Crusade in 1204. Following the fall of Constantinople, he served Theodore I Laskaris, founder of the Empire of Nicaea, for a few years before being called to Epirus, where his bastard half-brother Michael I Komnenos Doukas had founded an independent principality; when Michael died in 1215, Theodore sidelined his brother's underage and illegitimate son Michael II and assumed the governance of the Epirote state. Theodore continued his brother's policy of territorial expansion. Allied with Serbia, he expanded into Macedonia.
The capture of the Latin Emperor Peter II of Courtenay in 1217 opened the way to the gradual envelopment of Thessalonica, culminating in the city's fall in 1224. As ruler of Thessalonica, Theodore declared himself emperor, challenging the Nicaean emperor John III Doukas Vatatzes's claims to the Byzantine imperial throne. In 1225, he advanced to the outskirts of Constantinople, but his final attack against the seat of the much-reduced Latin Empire was delayed until 1230. In that year, Theodore amassed an army to besiege Constantinople, but diverted it against Bulgaria, an ambivalent ally which threatened his northern flank. Theodore was defeated and captured at the Battle of Klokotnitsa, spent the next seven years in captivity. In the meantime, he was succeeded by his brother Manuel. Manuel lost Thrace, most of Macedonia, Albania to the Bulgarian Tsar John II Asen. Thessalonica itself became a Bulgarian vassal, while in Epirus proper power was seized by Michael II, returning from exile. Theodore was released in 1237 when his daughter Irene married John Asen, managed to regain control of Thessalonica, ousting Manuel.
Having been blinded during his captivity and thus disqualified from occupying the throne again, he installed his eldest son John as emperor, but remained the de facto regent of the state. Manuel tried to regain Thessalonica with Nicaean support, but a negotiated settlement was reached which gave him Thessaly and left Thessalonica and its environs to Theodore and John. In 1241, John III Vatatzes invited Theodore to visit Nicaea, he was welcomed and treated with great honour, but was detained there until the spring of next year, when Vatatzes marched on Thessalonica with Theodore in tow. Theodore was sent in to negotiate with his son and convince him to accept demotion to the rank of Despot and to recognize the suzerainty of Nicaea. John was succeeded by Theodore's younger son Demetrios. In 1246, Vatatzes annexed Thessalonica. Theodore influenced his nephew Michael II to launch an attack on Thessalonica in 1251, but in 1252, Vatatzes campaigned against them and forced Michael to come to terms. Theodore was taken prisoner and sent into exile in Nicaea, where he died around 1253.
Born between 1180 and 1185, Theodore was a son of the sebastokrator John Doukas and of Zoe Doukaina. His paternal grandparents were Constantine Angelos and Theodora, a daughter of the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos. Theodore's uncle, was the father of the emperors Isaac II Angelos and Alexios III Angelos, who were Theodore's first cousins; as with most members of his family, he preferred to use the surname of "Doukas" or "Komnenos Doukas". Theodore evidently preferred to be associated with the more successful dynasties of the Doukai and the Komnenoi, rather than the disastrous reign of the Angeloi. Theodore's early life is obscure. After the Fourth Crusade captured Constantinople in 1204, he followed Theodore Laskaris to Asia Minor, where Laskaris founded the Empire of Nicaea. Theodore's service under Laskaris is unknown except for a brief reference in a letter written by the Metropolitan of Corfu, George Bardanes, one of Theodore's apologists. Bardanes writes that Theodore "took many dangers for his sake and wrested many fortresses from the enemies and subdued them to Laskaris' rule", distinguishing himself through his valour and receiving many rewards from the Nicaean ruler.
Some modern scholars, such as Karl Hopf and Antoine Bon, have identified a certain Theodore, who appears as "lord of Argos" and was the successor of Leo Sgouros in leading the resistance against the Crusaders in the northwestern Peloponnese after Sgouros' death in 1208, with Theodore Komnenos Doukas. This view has been questioned by Raymond-Joseph Loenertz, who argues that there is no evidence for such an assumption, that conversely it is well established that Theodore was in Nicaean service at the time. Around 1210, Theodore was invited by his half-brother Michael I Komnenos Doukas to Epirus, where Michael had founded an independent Greek principality. Michael wanted Th
Byzantine–Bulgarian war of 913–927
The Byzantine–Bulgarian war of 913–927 was fought between the Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire for more than a decade. Although the war was provoked by the Byzantine emperor Alexander's decision to discontinue paying an annual tribute to Bulgaria, the military and ideological initiative was held by Simeon I of Bulgaria, who demanded to be recognized as Tsar and made it clear that he aimed to conquer not only Constantinople but the rest of the Byzantine Empire, as well. In 917, the Bulgarian army dealt a crushing defeat to the Byzantines at the Battle of Achelous, resulting in Bulgaria's total military supremacy in the Balkans; the Bulgarians again defeated the Byzantines at Katasyrtai in 917, Pegae in 921 and Constantinople in 922. The Bulgarians captured the important city of Adrianople in Thrace and seized the capital of the Theme of Hellas, deep in southern Greece. Following the disaster at Achelous, Byzantine diplomacy incited the Principality of Serbia to attack Bulgaria from the west, but this assault was contained.
In 924, the Serbs ambushed and defeated a small Bulgarian army on its way to Serbia, provoking a major retaliatory campaign that ended with Bulgaria's annexation of Serbia at the end of that year. Simeon was aware that he needed naval support to conquer Constantinople and in 922 sent envoys to the Fatimid caliph Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah in Mahdia to negotiate the assistance of the powerful Arab navy; the caliph agreed to send his own representatives to Bulgaria to arrange an alliance but his envoys were captured en route by the Byzantines near the Calabrian coast. Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos managed to avert a Bulgarian–Arab alliance by showering the Arabs with generous gifts. By the time of his death in May 927, Simeon controlled all Byzantine possessions in the Balkans, but Constantinople remained out of his reach. In 927, both countries were exhausted by the huge military efforts that had taken a heavy toll on the population and economy. Simeon's successor Peter negotiated a favourable peace treaty.
The Byzantines agreed to recognize him as Emperor of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as an independent Patriarchate, as well as to pay an annual tribute. The peace was reinforced with Romanos's granddaughter Irene Lekapene; this agreement ushered in a period of 40 years of peaceful relations between the two powers, a time of stability and prosperity for both Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire. In the first years after his accession to the throne in 893, Simeon I defended Bulgaria's commercial interests, acquired territory between the Black Sea and the Strandzha mountains, imposed an annual tribute on the Byzantine Empire as a result of the Byzantine–Bulgarian war of 894–896; the outcome of the war confirmed Bulgarian domination in the Balkans, but Simeon I knew that he needed to consolidate his political and ideological base in order to fulfil his ultimate goal of claiming an imperial title for himself and assuming the throne in Constantinople. He implemented an ambitious construction programme in Bulgaria's new capital, Preslav, so that the city would rival the splendour of the Byzantine capital.
Simeon I continued the policy of his father Boris I of establishing and disseminating Bulgarian culture, turning the country into the literary and spiritual centre of Slavic Europe. The Preslav and literary schools, founded under Boris I, reached their apogee during the reign of his successor, it was at this time that the Cyrillic alphabet was invented, most by the Bulgarian scholar Clement of Ohrid. The Magyar devastation of the country's north-eastern regions during the War of 894–896 exposed the vulnerability of Bulgaria's borders to foreign intervention under the influence of Byzantine diplomacy; as soon as the peace with Byzantium had been signed, Simeon I sought to secure the Bulgarian positions in the western Balkans. After the death of the Serb prince Mutimir, several members of the ruling dynasty fought over the throne of the Principality of Serbia until Petar Gojniković established himself as a prince in 892. In 897 Simeon I agreed to recognize Petar and put him under his protection, resulting in a twenty-year period of peace and stability to the west.
However, Petar was not content with his subordinate position and sought ways to achieve independence. The internal situation of the Byzantine Empire at the beginning of the 10th century was seen by Simeon I as a sign of weakness. There was an attempt to murder emperor Leo VI the Wise in 903 and a rebellion of the commander of the Eastern army Andronikos Doukas in 905; the situation further deteriorated as the emperor entered into a feud with the Ecumenical Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos over his fourth marriage, to his mistress Zoe Karbonopsina. In 907, Leo VI had the patriarch deposed. At the beginning of the 10th century, the Arabs completed the conquest of Sicily and from 902 began attacking Byzantine shipping and towns in the Aegean Sea. In 904, they sacked the empire's second-largest city, taking 22,000 captives and leaving the city empty. Simeon I decided to exploit that opportunity, the Bulgarian army appeared in the vicinity of the deserted city. By securing and settling Thessalonica, the Bulgarians would have gained an important port on the Aegean Sea and would have cemented their hold on the western Balkans, creating a permanent threat to Constantinople.
Aware of the danger, the Byzantines sent the experienced diplomat Leo Choirosphaktes to negotiate a solution. The course of the negotiations is unknown – in a surviving letter to emperor Leo VI the Wise, Choirosphaktes boasted that he had "convinced" the Bulgarians not to take the city but did not mention more details. However, a