February 28, 2017

Saint Basil the Confessor

St. Basil the Confessor (Feast Day - February 28)


Basil carried Christ in his soul,
Overshadowing his soul with His grace.
On the twenty-eighth the image of Basil was hidden under the earth.

Saint Basil lived during the reign of Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (717-741). At a young age he became a monastic, and occupied himself with extreme asceticism. He bravely resisted the iconoclasts on behalf of the honor and veneration of holy icons. For this he was arrested and punished, proclaiming the truth of Orthodoxy. As a co-sufferer he had Saint Prokopios the Decapolite, who is celebrated on February 27th. After having his body and neck lacerated and flayed, he was cast into prison.

After the death of Emperor Leo, the Saint was freed from prison and again followed his former life of asceticism. He persuaded by his words and example many sinners and cacodox iconoclasts to return to Orthodoxy and to live a life of virtue. And through the abundant grace he received from Christ he was granted the power to work miracles and heal diseases. Having conducted himself in this manner, he departed to the Lord whom he loved from his youth with joy and thanksgiving.*


* As mentioned in the Life of Saint Prokopios the Decapolite, there are two versions of the Life of Saint Basil the Confessor. The other version says that he suffered during the reign of Emperor Leo V the Armenian (813-820). It was to this Basil that Saint Theodore the Studite wrote a reprimand because he had made certain concessions to the heretics, imposing a penance (Epistle 95) on him and asking him to retire from being the abbot of his monastery. Afterward, however, Saint Theodore praises Saints Basil and Prokopios for their brave stance under persecution. It is believed however that there may have been two pairs of Confessors named Basil and Prokopios, one pair living during the reign of Leo III and other during the reign of Leo V. The information we have about this is insufficient to determine precisely.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Thou wast a royal gift to Christ's Church, O Basil, and in thine ascetic life thou didst make thy life more luminous, and wast found worthy of glory in heaven.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Thou didst receive revelation from heaven, and go forth from the world's turmoil. Thou didst live a righteous life as a monk, and wast given grace to work miracles and to heal diseases, O wise, blessed and holy Basil.