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According to Theophanes the Confessor, Germanus was a son of patrician

, who was executed in 668.[1] Justinian was reportedly involved in the
Constans II and usurpation of the throne by Mezezius. Constantine IV,
nstans II, defeated his rival and punished the supporters of Mezezius.
survived the persecutions,[2] but was made a eunuch by the victors.[3]

murder of
son of Co

Germanus was sent to a monastery. He resurfaces as Bishop of Cyzicus.[1] He took

part in the 712 Council of Constantinople where decisions favored Monothelitism
, abolishing the canons of the Third Council of Constantinople (680-681). The Co
uncil followed the religious preferences of Philippikos Bardanes.[4]
In 713, Philippikos Bardanes was deposed by Anastasios II. Anastasios soon rever
sed all religious decisions of his predecessor. Patriarch John VI, strongly asso
ciated with Monothelitism, was eventually dismissed. On 11 August 714/715, Germa
nus was elected Patriarch of Constantinople. Germanus later helped negotiate Ana
stasius' surrender terms to Theodosios III.[5]
In 715, Germanus organized a new council propagating Dyothelitism and anathemati
zing various leaders of the opposing faction. He attempted to improve relations
with the Armenian Apostolic Church with a view towards reconciliation. The major
issue of his term would, however, be the emerging Byzantine Iconoclasm, propaga
ted by Leo III the Isaurian. Germanus was an iconodule,[4] and played an importa
nt role in defending the use of sacred images during the iconoclastic crisis of
his day, suffering exile for his opposition to the emperor, who considered rever
ence for these images a form of idolatry.[6]
After an apparently successful attempt to enforce the baptism of all Jews and Mo
ntanists in the empire (722), Leo issued a series of edicts against the worship
of images (726 729).[7] A letter by the patriarch Germanus written before 726 to t
wo Iconoclast bishops says that "now whole towns and multitudes of people are in
considerable agitation over this matter" but we have very little evidence as to
the growth of the debate.[8]
Germanus either resigned or was deposed following the ban. Surviving letters Ger
manus wrote at the time say little of theology. According to Patricia Karlin-Hay
ter, what worried Germanus was that the ban of icons would prove that the Church
had been in error for a long time and therefore play into the hands of Jews and
Muslims.[9] Tradition depicts Germanos as much more determined in his position.
Even winning a debate on the matter with Constantine, Bishop of Nacoleia, a lea
ding Iconoclast. Pope Gregory II (term 715-731), a fellow iconodule, praised Ger
manus' "zeal and steadfastness".[4]
Germanus was replaced by Anastasios, more willing
retired to the residence of his family. He died a
n 740.[10] He was buried at the Chora Church. The
included Germanus in the diptychs of the saints.
aint by both the Orthodox Church and the Catholic

to obey the emperor. Germanus

few years at an advanced age i
Second Council of Nicaea (787)
He has since been regarded a s

Several of his writings have been preserved.[4] His Historia Ecclesiastica was a
popular work in Greek and Latin translations for many centuries, and remains of
ten quoted by scholars. Parts of it were published in English in 1985 as On the
Divine Liturgy, described by its publishers as "for centuries the quasi-official
explanation of the Divine Liturgy for the Byzantine Christian world".[11] Howev
er the Catholic Encyclopedia is dubious that the work is actually by Germanus.[4
Pope Pius XII included one of his texts in the apostolic constitution proclaimin

g Mary s assumption into heaven a dogma of the Church.[1]

Among his writings was the hymn "???a ?a? pa??d???? ?a?a" translated by John Maso
n Neale as "A Great and Mighty Wonder",[2][3] although Neale misattributed this
to Saint Anatolius.[4]