May 12, 2017

Synaxarion of Saint Epiphanios the Bishop of Cyprus

St. Epiphanios, Bishop of Constantia (Feast Day - May 12)


You appeared Epiphanios as great in Cyprus,
Your fame there and death being great.
On the twelfth Epiphanios was seized by death.

The great and wonderworking Epiphanios lived during the reign of Emperors Arcadius (383-408) and Honorius (393-423). He was from the land of Phoenicia, near Eleutheropolis, the son of parents who occupied themselves with their own hands, working as farmers. Having been raised in a small home, which belonged to his poor and farming parents, he by his own labors shined in the world. For by his virtue according to God, the renowned one was raised to the extreme heights of piety and divinely-pleasing conduct.

His parents, being Jews, remained in the shadow and worship of the Law, and they were not able to see the light of grace of the gospel. The blessed one in turn hastened towards faith in Christ and the truth, after having received a little cause, which was as follows. A virtuous man named Kleobios healed a wound the Saint had on his thigh, which he received after falling off a donkey he was riding that had gone into a fit along the road, fell and died. Then the Saint had some doubtful thoughts regarding the old Law, which he was not very careful in keeping and worshiping accordingly. Later he met a monk named Loukianos, and seeing how he gave his garment to a poor person that had asked alms from him, and in turn he was clothed by God from above in a white garment, Epiphanios, seeing this miracle, immediately accepted the Christian faith and was baptized.

With the Saint having been baptized, as many miracles as he afterwards performed, it is a very difficult thing to deliver in summary. For to narrate the width and breadth of the history of his miracles, is the same as trying to contain the entire sea in a small spoon. Therefore we will only speak of that which is necessary concerning this Saint as set forth below.

When he was a monk he pursued, as we said, an ascetic life and performed numerous miracles and healings, as many for the soul as for the body. He did the same when he became a Hierarch. With these things, he taught his flock Orthodox teachings, and wrote numerous letters, in which he halted every blasphemous tongue, teaching the Orthodox faith of the Church. Due to his zeal and divinely-inspired boldness, the renowned one endured many temptations from the heretics and cacodox of his time.

Having lived a hundred and fifteen years, as he himself told Emperor Arcadius when he was asked, he delivered his soul to the Lord, when he was returning from Constantinople to his eparchy in Cyprus, for the great John Chrysostom wrote to him that he would not arrive to see his throne. Because due to his simplicity he was in agreement with those that exiled the divine Chrysostom, the divine Epiphanios wrote back to the divine Chrysostom, that he would not reach the destination of his exile. Both of them were informed of these by foresight. His Synaxis is celebrated in his most-holy Temple, which is found in that of Saint Philemon.*


* Saint Jerome says of Epiphanios that he is "almost the father of the whole episcopate, and a monument of the sanctity of former days" (Letter of Jerome to Pammachius Against John of Jerusalem). And in the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod, he is called a Father and Teacher of the entire Church.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Let us honour the Church's two divine trumpets, Hierarch Germanos and renowned Epiphanios; one censured Leo in defense of Christ's icon, the other was a scourge of heresies. These two ever intercede for us.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Let us the faithful joyfully praise the two Hierarchs, holy Epiphanios and Germanos; they burned the tongues of the godless, and preached true doctrine for all, who in right faith sing of the great Mysteries.