September 5, 2014

Commemoration of the Appearance of the Apostle Peter to Emperor Justinian in Athyra

Commemoration of the Appearance of Apostle Peter to Emperor Justinian (Feast Day - September 5)

When St. Eutychios (April 6), the future Patriarch of Constantinople, was a child, he predicted his future election as Patriarch while playing a childhood game and writing his name with the title "Patriarch".

Later, when the Fifth Ecumenical Synod prepared to assemble during the reign of the holy emperor Justinian (527-565), the Metropolitan of Amasea was ill and he sent St. Eutychios in his place. At Constantinople the aged Patriarch St. Menas (August 25) saw St. Eutychios and predicted that he would be the next Patriarch.

In the city of Athyra (otherwise spelled Athyras or Athira) in Thrace there was a church dedicated to the Apostle Peter, which celebrated annually on September 5th, probably due to the fact that it was consecrated on that day. According to the Life of Eutychios written by Eustratios the Presbyter, Emperor Justinian went to this church in 552 to participate in the procession for its feast on September 5th. St. Euthychios was also there. Eustratios, recording a vision Justinian narrated, writes:

"He declared that, while asleep in the church of Saint Peter, the head of the Apostles, in Athyra – he was there to perform the procession – he also had a divine vision concerning Eutychios; for he said that he had seen the head of the Apostles clearly pointing to the great Eutychios, and saying: 'Make him become your bishop'."

St. Eutychios went on to convene the Fifth Ecumenical Synod in 553.