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February 27, 2017

Saint Prokopios the Decapolite and Confessor

St. Prokopios the Decapolite (Feast Day - February 27)


Not to one of the cities of the earth Decapolite,
But towards a noetic city were you appointed.
On the twenty-seventh the end of Prokopios was manifested.

This Saint was from Decapolis of Isauria, a mountainous region of Asia Minor. In his youth, he devoted himself to a life of asceticism, and accomplished all prescribed efforts by which the heart is purified and the spirit elevated to God. When a persecution began by the nefarious Emperor Leo the Isaurian (717-741) regarding icons, Prokopios rose up in defense of icons showing that the veneration of icons is not idolatry; for Christians know that in honoring icons they do not either bow down or honor lifeless material but rather honor living saints who are depicted on the icons. Because of that, Prokopios was arrested, brutally tortured, flogged and scrapped with an iron brush. For this he became known as a Confessor of the Faith. He endured these tortures and was imprisoned with his fellow Confessor, Saint Basil (Feb. 28). When the wicked Emperor Leo was slain in the body, for he had lost his soul earlier, icons were restored in the churches and Prokopios returned to his monastery where he spent the remainder of his days in peace and he was granted the grace to work miracles. In old age, he was translated to the kingdom of God where he gazes with joy upon the living angels and saints, whose images on icons he honored on earth. He reposed peacefully in 750.

Another version of his Life says that Saints Prokopios and Basil co-suffered during the reign of Leo V the Armenian (813-820), to which Saint Theodore the Studite addressed two epistles in which he praises them for their courage under persecution (Epistle 2). According to this account, Saint Prokopios became a monk in his homeland and remained there for four years. Then, with the blessing of the Abbot, he undertook a stricter way of life in solitude and continual prayer. Soon thereafter a monastery was founded around him by monks seeking his spiritual guidance. When Emperor Leo V was informed that Prokopios was an iconophile, he sent his magistrate to persuade Prokopios to desist, though this was done in vain, for Prokopios openly venerated an icon concealed in his breast before him. This was reported to the Emperor, who ordered that Prokopios be punished and exiled for his defiance. Saint Prokopios reposed in exile.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Thou didst advance in asceticism, O Father Prokopios, and go from strength to strength. By venerating the icon of Christ thou didst share the lot of the Martyrs; with them ever intercede for those who cry to thee: Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has crowned thee; glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Today the Church obtains in thee a morning star, and by honouring thee dispels the darkness of heresy, O glorious Prokopios, initiate of heaven.