Gabriel III of Constantinople

1. Background – Career

Gabriel was born in Smyrna in the first half or in the middle of the 17th century. His parents were from Andros and he became known before 1702 as the metropolitan of Chalcedon. He was quite old when he was elected Ecumenical Patriarch, on August 29, 1702, thus succeeding the deceased Kallinikos II to the throne. He must have been widely accepted throughout his term in office, which was described by peace and calm. Gabriel remained in the patriarchal throne until he died (October 17, 1707). He was buried at the monastery of Kamariotissa at Chalki.

He was the first Patriarch from Smyrna in the Ottoman period, which reflects the gradual development of the city, and took particular care of his birthplace. During his patriarchal years, he encouraged the foundation of the first Greek school in Smyrna, the subsequent ‘Evangeliki Scholi’, where the notable scholar Adamantios Rysios, grandfather of Adamantios Korais, was teaching. Among his numerous activities concerning administrative matters, parish cases and monastic laws, was his letter to the metropolitan of Chaldia where he cautioned him not to intervene in villages under the jurisdiction of the metropolitan of Trebizond.

2. Evaluation

According to Gedeon, Gabriel received only a modest education. However, in the memorandum of his election, he is described as «…πάσῃ ἐκκλησιαστικῇ παιδείᾳ καὶ μαθήσει καλῶς καὶ ἀκριβῶς ἐξησκημένος» (…having received a full ecclesiastical education and having studied well and been trained properly).1 He was without doubt a mild-tempered and wise man, with a true zeal for ecclesiastical matters. In general, he was conservative and opposed to the translation of ecclesiastical texts into a more colloquial language, which had first been brought forward in the years of Kyrillos Loukaris. He held an unfailingly anti-Latin attitude.

1. Γεδεών, Μ., Πατριαρχικοί Πίνακες. Ειδήσεις Ιστορικαί Βιογραφικαί περί των Πατριαρχών Κωνσταντινουπόλεως από Ανδρέου του Πρωτοκλήτου μέχρις Ιωακείμ Γ' του από Θεσσαλονίκης, 36-1884 (Constantinople 1885-1890) p. 614; Γριτσόπουλος, Τ., ‘Γαβριήλ Γ' πατριάρχης Κωνσταντινουπόλεως’, Θρησκευτική και Ηθική Εγκυκλοπαιδεία, vol. 4 (Athens 1964) l. 110-111.