October 4, 2010

Saint Hierotheos, First Bishop of Athens

St. Hierotheos of Athens (Feast Day - October 4)


Hierotheos was consecrated to You of old,
Now he stands in the midst and is joined together with You O Word.
On the fourth Hierotheos was covered by the grave.

According to some, Hierotheos, like Saint Dionysius, was one of the nine members of the court of Mars Hill, and for this reason he is also known as "the Thesmothete", which means "Legislator". He was a Platonic philosopher.

Having first been instructed in the faith of Christ by the Apostle Paul, he was baptized by him and ordained by him as the first Bishop of Athens.

He, in turn, initiated the divine Dionysius more perfectly into the mysteries of Christ; the latter, on his part, elaborated more clearly and distinctly Hierotheos' concise and summary teachings concerning the faith of Christ.

He too was brought miraculously by the power of the Holy Spirit on a cloud to be present at the Dormition of the Theotokos, when, together with the sacred Apostles and those hierarchs equal to them, he became a leader of the singing of divine hymnody. "He was wholly transported, wholly outside himself and was so deeply absorbed in communion with the sacred things he celebrated in hymnology, that to all who heard him and saw him and knew him, and yet knew him not, he seemed to be inspired of God, a divine hymnographer," as Dionysius says (On the Divine Names, 3:2).

Having lived in a manner pleasing to God and guiding his flock with zeal, he is said by some to have reposed in the Lord in deep old age, while others report he was martyred for the faith.

The skull of Saint Hierotheos is located in the 11th century monastery dedicated to him (and also dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos Kyparissiotissis) in Megara of Attica, founded by Saint Meletios. Some say this church was where he lived his ascetical life and also where he was buried. Portions of his relics are located also at the Holy Monastery of Saint Paul on Mount Athos and the Chapel of Saint Andrew in Athens.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Since thou hadst been instructed in uprightness thoroughly and wast vigilant in all things, thou wast clothed with a good conscience as befitteth one holy. Thou didst draw from the Chosen Vessel ineffable mysteries; and having kept the Faith, thou didst finish a like course, O Hieromartyr Hierotheos. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As Athens' Hierarch, we acclaim thee, since through thee we have received instruction in things awesome and ineffable; for thou wast a God-inspired writer of divine hymns. O Hierotheos all-blessed, do thou pray to God, so that we may be redeemed from all calamities, that thus we may cry: Rejoice, O Father wise in things divine.