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December 26, 2018

Synaxarion of our Venerable Father Euarestos

Venerable Euarestos (Feast Day - December 26)


Euarestos hastened in word and deed,
Until the end he pleased you O Word.

He lived during the reign of Emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820) who was an iconoclast, and was from the province of Galatia, the son of notable parents. After Leo was killed by the sword, Michael the Stammerer succeeded him in the year 820. Because he also was most-shameful and of the same habits as his predecessor Leo, for this reason he received a suitable punishment. When the Saint reached a prime age, he was given over to learn sacred letters. And having learned letters, he became all the beautiful things to everyone. That is to say, he became obedient to his parents, to his friends and neighbors he became graceful, and to foreigners and indigenous he became receptive. In short, he showed by true deeds his name, for he became pleasing to all.*

Because the Saint was wounded with eros for the monastic citizenship, he went to Constantinople with his father. There they were given shelter by a Constantinopolitan named Bryennios, who was a relative of his, and who later was honored with the office of a patrician. After a few days had passed, a great need arose, for which the patrician was sent by Empress Theodora, wife of Theophilos who was an iconoclast, to be an ambassador to the Bulgarians. Going there, he took with him his relative Euarestos. When the two arrived at the place called Skopelos, where they rested for a while from the labors of traveling, then the blessed Euarestos, by divine economy, met an Elder by whom he was administered the monastic citizenship. Thus he received from him his previously desired purpose. Therefore having tonsured the hair of his head, he eagerly bowed his neck in submission to the salvific yoke of Christ: that is, he became a monk. Finding also a book of the Venerable Ephraim the Syrian, he read it and was pricked in his conscience. Therefore he sought to fulfill the works and teachings of that book.

Considering the passionate desire the youth had for virtue, the Elder supplied him with prayers and letters of introduction, and sent him to the Monastery of Stoudios. The Saint was received by the Fathers and brothers there, and entered into spiritual struggles, choosing a brother who had exceeded others in virtue to have as an Elder and communicant of all the actions of his life. The renowned one occupied himself with so much fasting and self-control, that he only ate a little bread once a week, which was made with barley flour, bran, broth and vegetables. His waist and neck were bound with two most heavy iron chains, which were squeezed in between two other chains that passed from his shoulders and chest. What more can we say? It is impossible for us to recount all the struggles the thrice-blessed Euarestos occupied himself with. With such divinely-pleasing actions he passed his life, and having lived to the age of seventy-nine, he departed to the Lord. His honorable relic was buried in the Monastery called Kokorobion.**


* The Greek word euarestos means "well-pleasing."

** Saint Euarestos had left Stoudios Monastery for the Kokorobion, also in Constantinople, where he successfully served as abbot till the end of his life.