August 25, 2017

Saint Menas, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 552)

St. Menas of Constantinople (Feast Day - August 25)


Menas left this world,
As well as the Church in the world.

Our Holy Father Menas was from Alexandria in Egypt. After receiving an excellent education in Constantinople, he was ordained a Presbyter and became director of the large hospital in the City that was between the churches of Hagia Sophia and Hagia Eirene.

In 536 Menas was appointed by Emperor Justinian I as Patriarch of Constantinople, and consecrated by Pope Agapetus I of Rome. This took place in the following manner: Pope Agapetus went with an embassy to Constantinople to use his personal influence to appease Emperor Justinian I following the death of Amalasuntha. The death of Amalasuntha would give Justinian a reason to go to war with the Ostrogoths and attempt to take Italy. Anthimos I was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople, who had previously been a bishop in Trebizond, against the protests of the orthodox, by the Empress Theodora who seated Anthimos in the patriarchal chair, although he was a Monophysite. When Pope Agapetus arrived in Constantinople members of the clergy entered charges against Patriarch Anthimos as an intruder and a heretic. Agapetus ordered him to make a written profession of faith and to return to his forsaken see; upon Anthimos' refusal, Agapetus deposed him. The Emperor threatened Agapetus with banishment. Agapetus is said to have replied, "With eager longing have I come to gaze upon the Most Christian Emperor Justinian. In his place I find a Diocletian, whose threats, however, terrify me not." Agapetus, for the first time in the history of the Church, personally consecrated Anthimos' legally elected successor, Menas.

Patriarch Menas was excommunicated in 547 and in 551 for taking positions counter to that held by Pope Vigilius on the Three Chapters of Justinian; but in both cases the sentence of excommunication was quickly lifted. The Patriarchy of Menas represents the greatest extent of papal influence in Constantinople.

Patriarch Menas strongly opposed Origenism. He presided over three synods: in 536 which excommunicated Anthimos his predecessor as well as other followers of Nestorias and Eutyches, and in 543 and 546 against Origenism.

On 27 December 537 he celebrated the first consecration of the Church of Hagia Sophia, as well as the second consecration on 22 December 538. And on 28 July 550 he consecrated the Church of the Holy Apostles.

After serving from the patriarchal throne for sixteen years and six months, Patriarch Menas reposed in peace in 552.