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George Gennadios Scholarios

eorge Courteses Scholarios was a scholar and cleric. He is better known as Gennadios II, the first patriarch of Constantinople after the Fall. He was born around 1405 in Constantinople, where he received his general schooling from John Chortasmenos and Mark Eugenikos. Later, studying on his own, he became erudite in theology and philosophy. Thenceforth, the main aim of his life became the advancement of education, as he believed that this would lend new strength and vigour to the Byzantine empire. He admired the scholars of the West for their classical education and learned Latin in order to study the Western theologians and philosophers from the original texts, many of which, such as the works of Thomas Aquinas and Peter the Iberian he translated into Greek. He also set himself to write a commentary on Aristotle and this work of his exceeded in length and quality the corresponding works of all the Byzantine scholars who had preceeded him. The most interesting among his philosophical works are those in which he critically examines and rejects the philosophical system of Plethon. The latter was his ideological opponent, since Gennadios, in spite of his knowledge of Western theology, never adopted Western scholastic philosophy as had Plethon. Instead, Gennadios was a supporter of Gregory Palamas. Although he attended the Council of Florence as an advocate of the Union of the Churches, he switched camp after the failure of the Council and after 1444 succeeded Mark Eugenikos as leader of the anti-Unionists. From 1454 to 1458 he was Patriarch of Constantinople. He died in 1468, having gained fame as the last great exponent of Byzantine erudition.

See also: Council of Ferrara-Florence
Gregory Palamas