November 23, 2017

Synaxarion of Saint Amphilochios of Iconium

St. Amphilochios of Iconium (Feast Day - November 23)


Make ready Amphilochios the vestments of death,
You scatter those lying in wait and dead you perceive with the mind.
On the twenty-third Amphilochios received death.

This Saint, having passed through every stage of ecclesiastical office, and shined in asceticism and divine knowledge, proceeded to become the Bishop of Iconium by the election of God and the common people, during the reigns of Valentinian and Valens. He flourished during the reign of Constantine the Great as well as that of his sons, and became a hierarch in the year 374. Having therefore become a teacher of the Orthodox faith, the renowned one bravely stood against the heresies of Arius and Macedonius and Eunomius. For this reason he endured many persecutions and tribulations from the impious. He was also a fellow-struggler with the one hundred and fifty Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Synod, who assembled together in the year 381 against Macedonius the Pneumatomach.* Since Theodosius the Great gave authority over the western territories of Europe to the young Valentinian, having trampled on the tyrant Maximinus, then the great Amphilochios returned to Constantinople, and approaching the emperor he asked him to banish the Arians. In prevailing upon him with supplications, by this the wondrous Father found a mechanism by which he could persuade the emperor.

When Theodosius was emperor, Amphilochios went to the palace and greeted him, but his son Arcadius, who was recently ordained emperor, he greeted in a lower manner. Because of this Theodosius was enraged, considering the dishonor of his son to be his own dishonor. Then the Saint most wisely revealed the drama and said: "You see, O emperor, how you cannot endure the dishonor towards your son, but become enraged? Believe therefore, also, that God the Father likewise turns away and hates those who blaspheme His Son, and say that He is lower than the Father." The emperor then understood the matter, and immediately wrote up a law to banish the heretics far away from the Orthodox. Therefore the renowned Amphilochios, having shepherded the flock of Christ for many years, and put together Orthodox discourses, and arriving at deep old age, reposed in peace.


* Saint Basil the Great wrote many letters to Saint Amphilochius, his friend and fellow champion of the faith, and at his request wrote his treatise On the Holy Spirit, which besides demonstrating the divinity of the Holy Spirit and His equality with the Father and the Son, defends the Church's unwritten ancient traditions, such as making the sign of the Cross, turning towards the East in prayer, no kneeling on Sunday, and so forth.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
In thy purity thou wast filled with the light of wisdom, and didst illumine the world with Orthodox doctrine; for thou didst preach the consubstantial nature of the Trinity and refute heresy. Wherefore Christ has glorified thee, O Hierarch Amphilochios.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Holy thunder, spiritual trumpet, nurse of the faithful and axe of heresy, Amphilochios servant of the Trinity, as thou dost stand with the Angels in God's presence, pray unceasingly for us all.