St. Photios was the great-nephew of St. Tarasius, the renown previous Patriarch of Constantinople. His father was a noble in the great city of Constantine, and a supporter of icons in the time of the last Iconoclast Emperors in the early 9th century. He and his family were sent into exile when St. Photios was only seven and all of their wealth was redistributed to others. St. Photios was remarkable well-educated and turned out to be one of, if not the most, shining intellectual lights of his entire century, and later became the most famous Patriarch of Constantinople since St. John Chyrsostom, who was patriarch from a.d. 398 to 405.
St. Photios was made the Patriarch in a.d. 858 in troubled political and religious times. Pope Nicholas I of Rome interfered in his rule as St. Photios was so well versed in ecclesiastic history that he could clearly identify the Papal mis-claims to universal jurisdiction, the addition of the filioque to the Creed, and Rome’s interference in the establishing of the newly converted Bulgarian Church. St. Photios was exiled in 867, but then recalled to become Patriarch again from 877 to 886, and went to the Lord in 893.