September 9, 2017

Synaxarion of Saint Theophanes the Confessor and Ascetic

St. Theophanes the Confessor and Ascetic (Feast Day - September 9)


You appeared as a majestic star of God,
In as much as you loosened from the darkness of error Theophanes.

This Saint suffered during the reign of the emperors Carus (282-283) and Carinus (283-285), and was born to pagan Greek parents. He came to believe in Christ in a strange manner, when he was very young in age. Once he saw a child who was in danger of dying from the cold, so he removed his own garments and clothed the child with them. Because his father asked him, "Where is your clothing, my child?" the Saint wisely responded, "I clothed Christ with them." Again his father asked, "And who is Christ? We Greeks revere Hermes and Apollo." Then the Saint renounced his father as impious and a Greek pagan, and an Angel of the Lord appeared and took him up to the mountain called Diabenos. There he made himself obedient to an ascetic, who had lived seventy-five years in asceticism. The ascetic accepted him, and together with teaching him the ways of asceticism he also taught him sacred letters. And both teacher and disciple were fed by a divine Angel.

Because the ascetic departed to the Lord after five years, the disciple Theophanes pursued the asceticism of his teacher. In this manner he lived in asceticism for fifty-eight years. Then he was led by a divine Angel outside his cave while seated on a lion, which took him to a place sixty stades away, or eight and a half miles. As he went he preached to all the faith of Christ. For this he was arrested by the emperors Carus and Carinus, who had him struck in the face a hundred times. They then tortured him with various punishments, but when many Greek pagans saw the miracles he worked, they believed in Christ and were baptized by him. By this the emperors were put to shame, and they allowed him to conduct himself as he wanted. The Saint once again went up to his cave, where he lived another seventeen years, and he departed to the Lord. All the years of his life therefore were seventy-five.