March 13, 2017

Synaxarion of the Translation of the Relic of Saint Nikephoros the Confessor

On the thirteenth of this month [March], we commemorate the translation of the relic of our Holy Father Nikephoros the Patriarch of Constantinople.


The City celebrates victory Nikephoros,
Where your relic is brought and received Nikephoros.
On the thirteenth Nikephoros was carried and brought into the City.

When the pseudo-patriarch, or rather mantiarch John the lawless,* was deposed from the throne of Constantinople, the most holy Patriarch Methodios ascended the throne in 843. Among other things he also accomplished the following.

He spoke with Emperor Michael and his mother Theodora saying that it would have been unjust not to bring back to Constantinople the sacred relic of the most venerable Patriarch Nikephoros, who was banished from the patriarchal throne due to his Orthodox and unblemished faith and ended his life in exile.** The aforementioned royals were convinced at these words and immediately sent men to bring the Saint's relics. Patriarch Methodios went with them together with priests and monks.

When they found that the honorable relic of the Saint had been preserved completely incorrupt and whole, although nineteen years had passed since his death, they took it on the royal ship and brought it to Constantinople with lamps and spiritual hymns. When the ship passed the acropolis, the emperor and the whole senate met the holy relic holding candles in their hands and they kissed it. Then they carried it on their shoulders and left it in the Great Church.*** There they did a vigil and in the morning they carried it on their shoulders again and brought it to the Church of the Holy Apostles the great, on the thirteenth day of this month. This same day is the day when he went into exile.*** His Synaxis is celebrated in the above-mentioned Holy Apostles the great.*****


* Ecumenical Patriarch John VII of Constantinople (837-843). He was appointed patriarch, in 837, by his student Emperor Theophilos and may have been responsible for the slight intensification of the persecution of Iconodules. He was deposed by Theophilos' widow Theodora (his own relative) as a preliminary towards the ending of Iconoclasm in 843. The deposed patriarch survived into the 860s.

** Nikephoros was Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from April 12, 806 to March 13, 815. He was exiled by Emperor Michael II for wanting to restore the holy images in churches, to the Monastery of Saint Theodore the Tiro on the Asiatic shore of the Bosporus, which he had founded. He died there on June 2, 828. His principal feast day is celebrated on June 2.

*** This is Hagia Sophia.

**** Patriarch Nikephoros was exiled on March 13, 815 and the translation of his holy relic to the Church of the Holy Apostles took place on March 13, 846.

***** His holy skull is today located in the historic Monastery of Saint George Malesinas in the Holy Metropolis of Fthiotida.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Thy fragrant relics have been revealed as godly treasure, filled with life for the Church. On their august translation we receive the grace of the Spirit. O venerable Father Nikephoros, pray to Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Thou didst lay down thy life for thy flock, and inspire it with true piety. Wherefore it joyfully receives thy holy relics and cries out to thee: Thou art my boast and my refuge, Father Nikephoros, blessed light of confession.