August 30, 2018

Saints Alexander, John and Paul the New, Patriarchs of Constantinople

Sts. Alexander, John and Paul of Constantinople (Feast Day - August 30)


To Alexander.
You fled the allotment of the flesh Alexander,
You occupy your allotted portion from the Lord.

To John.
The faces of those in the Church are of sad countenance,
Being deprived of John.

To Paul.
Paul forsook the path of life,
He found rest from the labor of life.

On the thirtieth the three now stand before the Trinity.

Saint Alexander was born in Calabria of Italy some time between 237 and 244. At a young age he was dedicated to God, and eventually ordained a priest. He attended the First Ecumenical Synod in Nicaea in 325 while still a priest as a representative of the aged Metrophanes, who was the Bishop of Byzantium. It was then revealed to Metrophanes by an Angel of the Lord that he should choose Alexander as his successor, and ten days later he reposed. Indeed, Alexander succeeded him in 326 as Bishop of Byzantium, and was present at the dedication ceremony of Constantinople on 11 May 330, which also made him the first Archbishop of Constantinople. During his episcopacy, Alexander engaged in debate with pagan philosophers and opposed heresies, especially Arianism. He was highly praised by Gregory the Theologian and Epiphanios of Salamis; Theodoret called him an "apostolic" bishop. He finally reposed in 337, the same year as Emperor Constantine the Great.

Saint John VIII Xiphilinos was a native of Trebizond born around the year 1010. He pursued studies at the University of Constantinople and eventually became nomophylax of its School of Law. During this time he was close friends with the philosopher Michael Psellos, and they became monks together at Mount Olympus in Bithynia in 1054. In 1064 he was selected by Emperor Constantine X (1059–67) to succeed Constantine Leichoudes as Ecumenical Patriarch. As Patriarch he took great interest in helping the poor, opening bakeries and renovating the Church of Hagia Sophia. At the same time, he continued his writing work, which consisted of theological, philosophical and legal treatises. John VIII also wrote a hagiography of Saint Eugenios of Trebizond. He is considered an innovator in the field of the methodology of jurisprudential research. He reposed on 2 August 1075. After his death his remains were buried at the Monastery of Angourion.

Saint Paul IV the New was from Cyprus. He was distinguished for the holiness of his life, excellent learning and his moderate character. He was elected Patriarch while he was still a Reader in 780 with the support of the iconoclastic Emperor Leo IV, and was considered a strict iconoclastic. In 784, however, he came down with a severe illness, and considered this illness as divine punishment for his iconoclastic views. He therefore resigned from his office as Patriarch in 784 and entered the Monastery of Floros. From there he expressed his remorse for his compromise as Patriarch on the issue of iconoclasm and advised the Empress Irene of Athens to convene a Synod to solve this problem. He said to her: "If there is no ecumenical synod and error is not corrected among us, then you will not have salvation." The Empress even visited him while he was bedridden with illness together with iconoclast officials, in order that he may advise them to abandon their error. Soon after he reposed. Indeed, the Seventh Ecumenical Synod did convene in 787 at the orders of Empress Irene.

Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Initiates of heaven and teachers of divine truth, you faithfully tended Christ's Church, holy Alexander champion of the Trinity, John son of grace and Paul the crown of bishops. Together we all praise you.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Divinely wise Alexander, wondrous John and glorious Paul, aflame with Christ's love you took up His Cross and followed His life. You now share His glory and stand before His throne: beseech Him to save our souls.