Sunday, January 25, 2015

Saint Kastinos, Bishop of Byzantium

St. Kastinos of Byzantium (Feast Day - January 25)

By John Sanidopoulos

Saint Kastinos* was from Rome, and originally a pagan. He held the office of senator and was very rich. For many years Kastinos struggled with demonic oppression. This was allowed by God to cure him of idolatry. He tried to free himself by every human means, but he always came up empty and was on the verge of despair.

While in Rome he came to hear about a certain man named Kyrillianos,** who was the bishop of Argyropolis and had the reputation of being a miracle worker. Understanding that he could be delivered from his demonic oppression by Kyrillianos, Kastinos left Rome and came to the area of Byzantium. Finding Kyrillianos on the opposite shore of Byzantium, he fell at his feet and begged him to heal him, and he was cured. After being delivered from his demonic oppression, Kastinos was baptized by the holy Kyrillianos. Kastinos then sent his men back to Rome and ordered them to sell all his belongings and distribute his wealth to the poor, while he remained with Kyrillianos and served him.

The blessed Kyrillianos had the gift of foreknowledge, and knowing that Kastinos would one day lead the Christians of that community, he taught Kastinos the entire knowledge of the Church and about pastoral care. Prior to his death, Kyrillianos ordained Kastinos the bishop of Argyropolis and Byzantium, saying to him the following: "Make the effort to transfer the church of Argyropolis to the opposite land of Byzantium; as this was revealed to me by God many years ago."

Following the repose of Kyrillianos, the blessed Kastinos built a church in the northern area of Byzantium, where the governors of Byzantium lay buried.*** Until his tenure, the cathedral had been near the sea in the area of present Galatas. He therefore transferred his see from Argyropolis to Byzantium, and was thus the seventeenth bishop of Byzantium after the Apostle Stachys.

Kastinos faithfully and diligently pastored the flock of Christ in Byzantium for seven years, from 230 to 237, and after ordaining his successor he reposed in the Lord.

* Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos refers to Kastinos as Constantine, while Meletios in his ecclesiastical history says he was also known as Kestinos. Kastinos is often spelled Castinus in English.

** In some sources, Kyrillianos is known as Kyprianos (or Cyprian). He is celebrated by the Church on October 27th.

*** Sources say that this church, the first of Byzantium, was dedicated to the Holy Martyr Euphemia, since she had just been martyred in Chalcedon. However, St. Euphemia was martyred some time between 288 and 303 A.D., while Kastinos was Bishop of Byzantium in the years 230–237. It therefore seems that this church was eventually named for St. Euphemia, probably right after her martyrdom, but not during the bishopric of Kastinos.

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