August 23, 2016

Saint Kallinikos I, Patriarch of Constantinople (693-705)

St. Kallinikos of Constantinople (Feast Day - August 23)


Kallinikos remained pleased in his purpose,
Till the end not being unpleased.

Saint Kallinikos was first a presbyter and skevofylax of the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos of Blachernae. Then because of his virtues he was ordained Patriarch of Constantinople in the year 693, during the reign of Emperor Justinian II (685-695 and 705-711).* Emperor Justinian was toppled from the throne in 695, and after his nose was cut off in the hippodrome** he was sent for imprisonment to Chersonessus. Leontios (695-698) then came to the imperial throne. Then in 698, Tiberius III overthrew Leontios.***

After ten years in 705 Justinian fled from his imprisonment, gathered an army with the help of the Bulgarians and Slavs, and advanced on Constantinople. Before he entered the city, he promised the Patriarch and the Senate that he would harm no one, and gave his oath on this before the honorable Cross, the all-revered Gospel and the honorable Body and Blood of the Lord. But having entered into Constantinople, he immediately broke his oath and began to shed much blood of the citizens and people of importance, and beheaded the emperor.**** He then ordered the divine Patriarch Kallinikos seized because of his supposed contribution to his exile, and had his eyes plucked out, and his tongue and nose cut off, and sentenced that he be exiled and shut in alive into a stone wall at Rome. After forty days the wall collapsed and Saint Kallinikos was found alive, although from weakness he hardly breathed and four days later he died. The Apostles Peter and Paul appeared to Pope John VI of Rome (701-705) in a vivid dream and commanded that Saint Kallinikos be buried in the Church of the Apostles at Rome.


* The following is here related in some manuscripts of the Synaxarion of Constantinople, but is apparently rejected by Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite: Emperor Justinian II desired to build a beautiful fountain at a location occupied by a church dedicated to the Theotokos. Therefore he approached the Patriarch and sought his blessing to tear it down. The Patriarch responded that he had prayers only for building and supporting churches, not destroying them, for God made the world to remain and not to perish and be destroyed. Those sent by the emperor therefore tried to force him to obey the orders of the emperor. Therefore the Patriarch prayed: "Glory to You my Christ, for you tolerate and endure all things." With this, the church fell to ruins.

** From which he received the nickname "Short-nosed".

*** When Tiberius was firmly established on the throne, he commanded that the nose of deposed Emperor Leontios be cut off, and ordered him to enter the Monastery of Psamathion.

**** Tiberius's nose was cut off in the hippodrome. Justinian placed his feet on the necks of Tiberius and Leontios in a symbolic gesture of subjugation before ordering their execution by beheading.