December 20, 2017

Synaxarion of Saint Philogonios the Patriarch of Antioch

St. Philogonios (Feast Day - December 20)

Commemoration of our Venerable Father Philogonios, 
Who From a Lawyer Became Patriarch of Antioch.


The representative Philogonios is absent from life,
Having run the course of excellence in the commandments of God.

From infancy the blessed Philogonios was given over to the learning of sacred writings, and by this he at first dedicated himself to God. For this reason when he passed through all the sciences, and pursued them in accordance with his readiness of mind and genius, he learned all the sciences with such precision, that it was as if he had learned only one. And he achieved a luminous life, even though he had a wife and children, and he conducted himself in the courts. Because he defended the unjustly accused, and lent a hand of help to the oppressed, the blessed one shined more than the sun, due to the purity of his conduct. Thus, from the external rule and authority which he possessed, he became worthy of internal and ecclesiastical authority. From the external bema of judges and lawyers, he was elevated to the external sacred bema of the Church and Bishops.

First of all, when he was an external lawyer and judge, he defended, as we said, those who were without protection. And with his help, he made those unjustly accused stronger. Again later, when he was entrusted with the flock of Christ, and he became an internal judge, the situation was very difficult. For at that time the persecution of the tyrants against Christians had only recently ceased, and the relics of that terrible and universal tempest still remained. The upheavals of the heretics were also many, which began in his time. But all these were hindered and stopped, through the wisdom and administration of the Saint. The divine Chrysostom, in his encomium which he devised for this blessed man, that begins, "Today I was preparing," narrates further on this. Thus he shepherded the flock entrusted to him in a God-pleasing manner, and the renowned one having conducted himself as an angel on earth, reposed in the Lord.