November 22, 2016

Saint Kallistos II Xanthopoulos, Patriarch of Constantinople

St. Kallistos II Xanthopoulos (Feast Day - November 22)


Kallistos supplanted the wicked enemy,
Declared a friend he approached God.

Kallistos Xanthopoulos received his surname because he was a monk at the Monastery of Xanthopoulos, which was located in Mount Athos. Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite tells us that he found a letter of this Kallistos at Pantocrator Monastery, which says he lived as a hesychast in the Hermitage of Saint Onouphrios, which belonged to Pantocrator Monastery, and he states that this Monastery was his. By this Nikodemos drew the conclusion that Xanthopoulos Monastery was likely another name for Pantocrator Monastery.

He became closely acquainted with Ignatios Xanthopoulos, who had been born in Constantinople. They are described as being two bodies united with one soul in a spiritual sense, for they both were godly minded and attained great heights in noetic prayer. According to Saint Symeon of Thessaloniki, Kallistos and Ignatios Xanthopoulos beheld the Uncreated Light, as the Apostles had done on Mount Tabor. Their faces seemed to “shine like the sun.” Together they composed the important Century, a tract of 100 sections on the ascetical practices of the Hesychastic monks; it was incorporated in the Philokalia of the Neptics by Nikodemos the Hagiorite and had a great influence on Orthodox spirituality.

Kallistos became Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in 1397, but only for three months. He was Patriarch through the reign of the Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, and throughout his short Patriarchal reign Constantinople was under siege by the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I. After leaving the Patriarchate he entered another monastery, perhaps the Monastery of the Theotokos known as Kataphygi, in the eparchy of Nafpaktos and Arta. There he lived in asceticism till the end of his life.