November 20, 2010

Saint Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople

St. Proklos (Proclus) of Constantinople (Feast Day - November 20)


The heavens have you Proclus as a winning-post,
And those within rejoice over your golden words.

Saint Proclus lived during the reign of Emperor Theodosius the Younger. A disciple and scribe of Saint John Chrysostom, he was ordained Bishop of Cyzicus about the year 426, but because the people there unlawfully elected another bishop before his arrival, he remained in Constantinople. In 429, Nestorius, who had been Archbishop of Constantinople for about a year, and had already begun his blasphemous teaching that it is wrong to call the holy Virgin "Theotokos," invited Bishop Proclus to give a sermon on one of the feasts of our Lady, which he did, openly defending in Nestorius' presence the name "Theotokos," that is, "Mother of God." Saint Proclus was elevated to the throne of Archbishop of Constantinople in 434 on Holy Thursday. It was he who persuaded Emperor Theodosius the Younger and his holy sister Pulcheria to have the most sacred relics of his godly teacher Saint John Chrysostom brought back from Comana, and triumphantly received them upon their return to the imperial city (see Jan. 27 and Nov. 13). He reposed in peace in 447.


Proclus was renowned for the sanctity of his life and for his modesty, with which he succeeded to calm down the Church and to make many Nestorians return to her. Before ascending the throne of Constantinople, he was ordained Bishop of Cyzikus (426-434) by Patriarch Sisinios of Constantinople.

After the death of Patriarch Maximian, he was consecrated Patriarch of Constantinople, serving from this role for 12 years and 3 months "in a good way" according to the sources. Proclus returned the relics of his teacher Saint John Chrysostom to Constantinople in 438. He was renowned for his preaching, for which the Roman officer Valusian (before being baptised a Christian) declared that "if Rome had three men like Sir Proclus, there would not be there a single pagan."

With the Tomus to the Armenians, he proves that the basis for the Nestorian heresy are the christological opinions of Theodore of Mopsuestia, without, however, mentioning him explicitly (435). Speeches and letters of Proclus are saved, and have been published by K. J. P. Migne, F. Schwartz, F. J. Lorey.

To Proclus has wrongly been attributed the Speech Regarding the Tradition of the Divine Liturgy, which was composed in the 16th century due to the disputes between the Latins and the Protestants regarding the origin of the Divine Liturgy.

Being declared a Saint of the Orthodox Church, his holy memory is honored on the 20th of November.


Saint Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Glorious disciple of a glorious teacher,
O most-wise Proclus, servant of the Savior,
You strengthened the Faith and destroyed heresy,
For which the Holy Church praises you,
And the Church magnifies its giant,
Who, by glorifying God, glorified himself.
As a skilled helmsman, you guided the Church,
Beheld miracles and glorified God.
Clairvoyant of spirit, with a mind filled with grace,
You resonated with the Spirit like a finely tuned string.
Taught by the Spirit, you instructed the emperor
To transport the relics of the golden-mouthed Patriarch,
And with the emperor and the people you openly beheld
Glorious miracles manifest from the relics.
Now, in Paradise eternal, pray for us,
That the faithful endure in the Faith to the end!

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
The twofold lamps of divine gifts, Proclus, shepherd of New Rome, and Gregory, scion of Decapolis, guide us by the light of grace as divinely-inspired fathers. Let us draw near and eagerly beseech them, that we may receive forgiveness and salvation of our souls.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
On this day, thy ven'rable departure from us, O wise Proclus blest of God, is celebrated fittingly with joy by her that in very truth is the most honoured of cities in all the world.