John the Oxite

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John VII the Oxite was the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch at the time of the Siege of Antioch in 1097 in front of the besieging army of the First Crusade. He was imprisoned by the Turkish governor, Yaghi-Siyan, who suspected his loyalty. On occasion he was hung from the walls and his feet were hit by iron rods. According to the Historia belli sacri (c. 1131), after the siege the Christian women of the city went to release the imprisoned patriarch, only to find that he could not stand, his legs having been weakened by so long a confinement .[1] He was released and re-established as Patriarch when the crusaders captured the city in 1098. The crusaders soon established a Latin bishop in Albara (where there was no Greek bishop established) Peter of Narbonne. Peter was consecrated by John.[2] The Patriarch John coexisted with Peter until John became politically inconvenient for the first Prince of Antioch, Bohemund I. Bohemund accused him of conspiring with the Byzantine Empire, an old enemy of Bohemund and his Norman family, and John was exiled to Constantinople in 1100. The Eastern Orthodox Church was repressed in favour of the Latin Church. under Bernard of Valence, who succeeded Peter of Narbonne and took the position of Patriarch, establishing the line of Latin Patriarchs of Antioch. In Constantinople, John resigned and entered a monastery in Oxia, where he wrote anti-Latin treatises. A new Greek Patriarch was appointed in Constantinople until it was possible to restore them in Antioch later in the 12th century.


  1. ^ John France, "The Use of the Anonymous Gesta Francorum in the Early Twelfth-Century Sources for the First Crusade," in Alan V. Murray, ed., From Clermont to Jerusalem: The Crusades and Crusader Societies, 1095–1500 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998), 38.
  2. ^ The First Crusade, Steven Runciman, page 164, Cambridge University Press, 2005