January 21, 2018

Synaxarion of Saint Maximus the Confessor

St. Maximus the Confessor (Feast Day - January 21)

On the twenty-first of this month, we commemorate our Venerable Father Maximus the Confessor.


Handless and tongueless you brought forth a hand and tongue,
And delivered your soul Maximus into the hands of God.
On the twenty-first it was the lot of Maximus to be buried.

This Saint lived during the reign of Constans (641-668), the father of Constantine the Pogonatos, nephew of Heraclius. He was honored by the emperors with great honors, and appeared competent in political administration, as much in his wisdom and words as in his manner and good principles, as well as in his prudence, which he had due to his many years of giving good counsel to what one must do. For this reason he was elevated to the office of Protasekretis, and became a participant in the councils of the emperor. Because the wicked and heretical belief in the one will of Christ was mindlessly and impiously minded and held at that time, a heresy which abolished the two natures of Christ, imperial edicts and decrees were issued in the marketplaces and the churches, which accepted and upheld this heresy. At that time the majestically named Maximus (for Maximus in Latin means majestic) could not suffer to associate with irreverence and impiety, so he abandoned his imperial honors and worldly authority, preferring it better to be rejected in the house of God than to dwell in the tents of sinners, as David says. And going to the monastery which was in Chrysopolis, which today is called Skoutari, he cut the hairs on his head and became a monk. Later he became abbot of the same monastery.

Then he became inflamed with divine zeal, and went to old Rome, where he persuaded the blessed Pope Martin to gather together a local synod in order to anathematize the leaders of the Monothelites. Not only did the thrice-blessed one accomplish this brave task, but he also wrote discourses and letters, rebuking the heretics who held to this thinking, confirming with syllogistic proofs and written testimonies the preciseness of our Orthodox faith, which he sent to various places and churches of the ecumene.

When he returned to Constantinople from Rome, he was sentenced as one held liable together with his two disciples both named Anastasios, summoned by the imperial rulers, who agreed with the heresy of the emperor. Because the Saint saw that they were all persuaded towards the thinking of the emperor, not only did he resist them, but he also roused the others to resist them, persuading them to think against the Monothelites, through his wise letters. For this he was sent as an exile to a place in Thrace. Because he stood fast in the Orthodox faith, they cut off his hand and his tongue. From there he was sent into exile to the Lazica region, where he remained for three years alone, and managed all of his needs till the fullness of his days. Soon he became ill and reposed in the Lord, and was buried there at the Monastery of Saint Arsenios, where he daily performed many miracles.

It was said that because his sacred tongue was cut out, he was restored to health again by God, and he was able to speak clearly and distinctly with it as long as he lived. Of his two disciples who were named Anastasios, the oldest in age Anastasios had his hand and tongue cut off, just like his teacher, and he was exiled to a far away place. The younger Anastasios was also sent into exile to a fortress in Thrace, and there his life came to an end, and reposed in the Lord.*


* The Transposition of the Relic of Saint Maximus is celebrated on August 13th. He is also again celebrated on September 20th with Pope Martin, the two Anastasii, Theodore and Euprepios.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Through thee the Spirit poured forth, streams of teaching for the Church; thou didst expound God the Word's self emptying, and shine forth in thy struggles as a true Confessor of the faith; holy Father Maximus, pray to Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
O faithful, let us acclaim the lover of the Trinity, great Maximus who taught the God-inspired faith, that Christ is to be glorified in two natures, wills and energies: and let us cry to him: Rejoice, O herald of the faith.