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Posts Tagged ‘emperor leo’

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: February 11

Paschal was the son of Bonosus, a native of Rome. He studied at the Lateran, was named head of St. Stephen’s monastery, which housed pilgrims to Rome, and was elected Pope to succeed Pope Stephen IV (V) on the day Stephen died, January 25, 817. He was pope from 25 January 817 to 11 February 824. He was raised to the pontificate by the acclamation of the clergy shortly after the death of Pope Stephen IV and before the sanction of the emperor Louis the Pious had been obtained – a circumstance for which it was one of his first tasks to apologize.

Emperor Louis the Pious agreed to respect papal jurisdiction, but when Louis’s son Lothair I came to Rome in 823 to be consecrated king, he broke the pact by presiding at a trial involving a group of nobles opposing the Pope. When the two papal officials who had testified for the nobles were found blinded and murdered, Paschal was accused of the crime. He denied any complicity but refused to surrender the murderers, who were members of his household, declaring that the two dead officials were traitors and the secular authorities had no jurisdiction in the case. The result was the Constitution of Lothair, severely restricting papal judicial and police powers in Italy.

Paschal was unsuccessful in attempts to end the iconoclast heresy of Emperor Leo V, encouraged SS. Nicephorous and Theodore Studites in Constantinople to resist iconoclasm, and gave refuge to the many Greek monks who fled to Rome to escape persecution from the iconoclasts. Paschal built and redecorated many churches in Rome and transferred many relics from the catacombs to churches in the city. The church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere was restored and Santa Maria in Domnica rebuilt by him. He also extensively renovated the basilica of Santa Prassede, which includes the famous Episcopa Theodora mosaic of his mother.

In 822, he gave the legateship over the North (Scandinavia) to Ebbo, Archbishop of Rheims. He licensed him to preach to the Danes, though Ebbo failed in three different attempts to convert them. Only later did Saint Ansgar succeed with them.

Paschal died in Rome while the imperial commissioners were investigating the circumstances under which two papal officials that were testifying against the pope had been seized at the Lateran, blinded and afterwards beheaded. The Roman people refused him the honor of burial within St. Peter’s Basilica, but he now holds a place in the Roman calendar (prior to 1963, 14 May; currently 11 February).

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