1. Activity until 1259
Andronikos was born in the early 13th century, probably in Paphlagonia. He was ordained at a young age and was already metropolitan of Sardis when Manuel II held the patriarchal throne (1243-1254). He is reported to have participated in two synods convened by Manuel II at Nymphaion (in the respective synodal documents he is referred to as hypertimos and exarch of Lydia). In 1253, during the negotiations between the emperor of Nicaea, John III Vatatzes (1222-1254), and the Roman Church over the union of the Churches, Andronikos was sent to Pope Innocent IV (1243-1254) as head of a delegation, which also included George Kleidas from Cyzicus. In 1256 he participated in a council convened at Nymphaion by Patriarch Arsenios Autoreianos (1254-1260, 1261-1265).1
Andronikos collaborated closely with Arsenios and supported him during his dispute with Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (1259-1282).2 Furthermore, when Michael VIII removed Arsenios from the patriarchal throne (1260), Andronikos went to Selymbria to find the emperor and requested that he retire to his birthplace in support of the dethroned patriarch. But his request was rejected, so he resigned his metropolitan see, became a monk under the name Athanasios and retired to the monastery of the Saviour in Selymbria.
2. The return of Andronikos to the metropolitan see
In 1261, when Arsenios was restored to the patriarchal throne, Andronikos asked to return to his see. But the members of the Synod firmly rejected his request. After Arsenios was removed for a second time (1265), Andronikos was exiled.
In 1282, the new Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282-1328) recalled him to Constantinople. When he returned from exile, Andronikos put himself at the head of a group of followers of the dethroned patriarch and became one of the spiritual leaders of the Arsenite movement. With the mediation of another leading figure of the movement and imperial cousin, John Tarchaneiotes, the Arsenite leader remained in contact with the emperor and became one of the main participants in the negotiations over the lifting of the Arsenite schism. According to the historian George Pachymeres, the former metropolitan aimed to ascend the patriarchal throne. However, in 1283 he assented to the election of Gregory II of Cyprus (1283-1289) as patriarch.
After Gregory II ascended the throne, Andronikos was restored to the metropolis of Sardis by imperial order and became the emperor’s confessor. In the same period, he actively participated in the council convened by Andronikos II at the church of Theotokos of Blacherna and countersigned the Tomos for the defrocking of the pro-Latin hierarchs.
By 1284, however, he seems to have fallen out of grace. Shortly after the council convened in Adramyttion for the lifting of the Arsenite schism (Apr. 8-9, 1284), Andronikos faced the accusations of his pupil Galaktion, who even blamed him for treacherous conduct against the emperor. Andronikos was taken to the ecclesiastic court convened in Lampsakos and was condemned for illegally assuming the metropolitan see, since he had been tonsured a monk; he was therefore pillorized and defrocked.3
There is no information about his activity later on. Some researchers identify him with the unnamed metropolitan of Sardis sent as an envoy to Peter II of Aragon, Spain, in 1281.4 Andronikos died in the late 13th century.
1. Γουναρίδης, Π., Το κίνημα των Αρσενιατών (1261-1310). Ιδεολογικές διαμάχες την εποχή των πρώτων Παλαιολόγων (Athens 1999), p. 236, dates the second removal of the patriarch to 1264.
2. Michael VIII Palaiologos, who had become the regent of John IV (1254-1258), the legal heir to the throne of Nicaea and son of Theodore II Laskaris, usurped power and pursued his own ascension to the imperial throne. However, he was opposed by Patriarch Arsenios Autoreianos. When Michael VIII blinded John IV, the patriarch excommunicated him. The dispute between the two men concluded in 1265, when Arsenios was dethroned. See Γουναρίδης, Π., Το κίνημα των Αρσενιατών (1261-1310). Ιδεολογικές διαμάχες την εποχή των πρώτων Παλαιολόγων (Athens 1999), pp. 35-60.
3. Γουναρίδης, Π., Το κίνημα των Αρσενιατών (1261-1310). Ιδεολογικές διαμάχες την εποχή των πρώτων Παλαιολόγων (Athens 1999), p. 143. See also Failler, A. (ed.), Georges Pachymérès, Relations historiques II (Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 24/3-4, Paris 1999), pp. 65-66.
4. Τhis view is also expressed by Dölger, F., Regesten der Kaiserurkunden des Oströmischen Reiches von 565-1453 (München 1977), pp. 74-75, no. 2,059.