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Posts Tagged ‘Constantinople’

Pope Saint Martin IFeastday: April 13

Death: 655

Elected pope in 649, Pope Saint Martin I had gotten in trouble for refusing to condone silence in the face of wrong. At that time there existed a popular heresy that held that Christ didn’t have a human will, only a divine will. The emperor had issued an edict that didn’t support Monothelism (as it was known) directly, but simply commanded that no one could discuss Jesus’ will at all.

Monothelism was condemned at a council convened by Saint Martin I. In his anger, the emperor sent his soldiers to Rome to bring the pope to him. When Saint Martin I arrived in Constantinople after a long voyage he was immediately put into prison. There he spent three months in a filthy, freezing cell while he suffered from dysentery. He was not allowed to wash and given the most disgusting food. After he was condemned without being allowed to speak in his defense he was imprisoned for another three months.

From there he was exiled to the Crimea where he suffered from the famine of the land as well as the roughness of the land and its people. But hardest to take was the fact that the pope found himself friendless. His letters tell how his own church had deserted him and his friends had forgotten him. They wouldn’t even send him oil or corn to live off of.

He died two years later in exile in the year 656, a martyr who stood up for the right of the Church to establish doctrine even in the face of imperial power.

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St. Alexander AkimetesFeastday: February 23

Died: 403

Saint Alexander Akimetes was a monk, hermit and founder of religious houses. He was born in Asia Minor and studied in Constantinople. There he became a convert to Christianity and began a life of retreat and prayer.

Saint Alexander remained a hermit for eleven years in Syria and then started missionary work. He founded a monastery in Mesopotamia and another one in Constantinople.

He visited Antioch but found opposition there, which forced him to leave Constantinople and go to Gomon, where he founded a monastery.

Alexander is believed to have converted Rabulas, who became the bishop of Edessa. Alexander is also credited with initiating the liturgical service in which his four-hundred monks sang the Divine Office continuously day and night.

He died in Gomon.His feast day is June 17 in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches.

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Feastday: November 11

759 – 826

Theodore was born at Constantinople in Bithynia. He became a novice at a monastery established by his father on his estate at Saccudium near Constantinople, where he was sent to study by Plato his uncle, who had become abbot of Saccudium.

Theodore was ordained in 787 at Constantinople after which he returned to Saccudium and succeeded Plato as abbot. He and Plato denounced the action of Emperor Constantine VI in leaving his wife and marrying Theodota, because of which he was exiled to Thessalonica.

He encouraged learning in the arts, founded a school of calligraphy, and wrote a rule for the monastery that was adopted in Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia and even on Mount Athos.

When he opposed the appointment of a layman, Nicephorus, to succeed Tarasius, who had died in 806 as patriarch of Constantinople by Emperor Nicephorus I, Theodore was imprisoned by the emperor and later exiled to Princes’ Island with Plato and Archbishop Joseph of Thessalonica, Theodore’s brother..

Theodore returned on the emperor’s death in 811 and was reconciled to Patriarch Nicephorus in a common fight against the iconoclasm of Emperor Leo V the Armenian. When Nicephorus was banished, Theodore became the leader of the Orthodox and was himself banished in 813 to Mysia by Leo.

He endured great hardships the three years he was in prison there and he was transferred to Smyrna and put in the custody of an iconoclast bishop who wanted him beheaded and treated him with great harshness. Released on the murder of Leo in 820, he was again faced with a renewed iconoclasm under Emperor Michael the Stammerer, who refused to restore him as abbot or to restore any of the orthodox bishops to their Sees.

Theodore left Constantinople and visited monasteries in Bithynia, founded a monastery on Akrita for many of his monks who had followed him, and died there on November 11. Many of his letters, treatises, sermons, and hymns are still existent. His feast day is November 11.

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Feastday: August 25

St. Patricia according to legend, was of a noble and perhaps royal family in Constantinople. She fled to Italy to escape marriage arranged for her and became a nun. She then went to Rome and became a virgin consecrated to God. There she received the veil from Pope Liberius.

She returned to constantinople after the death of her father and distributed her wealth to the poor, and then went back to Italy. She planned to go to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage but died before she could do that in Naples.

She is a patron of Naples where it is believed that a vial filled with her blood reportedly liquefies thirteen hundred years after her death. Her feast day is celebrated on August 25.

 

 

 

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Feastday: February 25

730 – 806

Saint Tarasios (or Saint Tarasius) was born and raised in the city of Constantinople. A son of a high-ranking judge, Tarasios was related to important families, including that of the later Patriarch Photios the Great.  St. Tarasius was subject of the Byzantine Empire. He was raised to the highest honors in the Empire as Consul, and later became first secretary to the Emperor Constantine and his mother, Irene.

Since he exhibited both Iconodule sympathies and the willingness to follow imperial commands when they were not contrary to the faith, he was selected as Patriarch of Constantinople by the Empress Irene in 784, even though he was a layman at the time. Nevertheless, like all educated Byzantines, he was well versed in theology, and the election of qualified laymen as bishops was not unheard of in the history of the Church.

He reluctantly accepted, on condition that church unity would be restored with Rome and the oriental Patriarchs. To make him eligible for the office of patriarch, Tarasios was duly ordained to the deaconate and then the priesthood, prior to his consecration as bishop.

When being elected Patriarch of Constantinople, he consented to accept the dignity offered to him only on condition that a General Council should be summoned to resolve the disputes concerning the veneration of sacred images, for Constantinople had been separated from the Holy See on account of the war between the Emperors.

The Council was held in the Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople in 786; it met again the following year at Nice and its decrees were approved by the Pope. The holy Patriarch incurred the enmity of the Emperor by his persistent refusal to sanction his divorce from his lawful wife. He witnessed the death of Constantine, which was occasioned by his own mother; he beheld the reign and the downfall of Irene and usurpation of Nicephorus.

St. Tarasius’ whole life in the Episcopacy was one of penance and prayer, and of hard labor to reform his clergy and people. He occupied the See of Constantinople twenty-one years and two months. His charity toward the poor was one of the characteristic virtues of his life. He visited in person, all the houses and hospitals in Constantinople, so that no indigent person might be overlooked in the distribution of alms. This saintly Bishop was called to his eternal reward in the year 806. His feast day is February 25th.

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