March 29, 2017

Synaxarion of Saint Eustathios the Confessor, Bishop of Kio in Bithynia

St. Eustathios the Confessor (Feast Day - March 29)


Being stripped of this clay, all-blessed Eustathios,
You stand before Christ who became clay for us.

Our Holy Father and Confessor Eustathios threw off from himself the heavy load of the world and whatever is in the world, and became a Monk. He bore the yoke of Christ on his shoulders applying His commandments, and took care for the salvation of his soul. When he had been convinced by the many entreaties of the people, he became a Priest. He always thanked God, in Whom he had an unhesitating faith. He felt sincere love for everybody and he was instructive, humble, sympathetic, merciful, a zealot of good works. Because of these virtues of his, he became Bishop of Kio in Bithynia (which is commonly called Kio and called Gemlik in Turkish; in days of old it was called Kieros, then it was called Prousias and it formerly had an episcopal see under the Metropolitan of Nicaea). This was the diocese that the Saint governed for quite some years according to the canons and the traditions of the Holy Apostles.

When the heresy of the iconoclasts appeared in the Church of Christ, this blessed man armed himself with the study of the Holy Scriptures and with it, as if it was a sling, he fought the iconoclasts, who boasted against the Churches of God. Hence some of them slandered the Saint to the emperor who was an iconoclast at that time. At first the Saint received threats, then they spat on his face, beat him, imprisoned him, mistreated him, examined him and beat him with sticks. Finally, the iconoclasts beat him up with thick rods and banished him from his diocese because he venerated and honored the holy icons. Having spent some years in exile, he was distressed, ill treated, deprived, hungry, thirsty and naked. Therefore under such mistreatment and hardship the renowned one thanked God and departed for the eternal habitations.