February 26, 2020

Synaxarion of our Venerable Father Porphyrios the Bishop of Gaza


Who shall elude? Who shall neglect?
Even Porphyrios who has passed from life?
On the twenty-sixth the corpse of Porphyris was hidden in the earth.

He was from the city of Thessaloniki, the son of parents who were noble and wealthy, during the reign of Emperor Arcadius (395-408). Withdrawing from his homeland, he went to Egypt, where he went to a skete and became a monk. After five years he went to Jerusalem, and enlightened many unbelievers by the words of his teachings. For this reason he was ordained a Presbyter by the Patriarch of Jerusalem Praulius. Later he was ordained Bishop of Gaza by the Archbishop of Caesarea in Palestine John. Having become Bishop, he did many wonderful things, and many unbelievers he converted to the knowledge of God. Seeing that the provincial Christians were unjustly treated by the authorities of Gaza, who were idolaters and heretics, he went to Constantinople to seek help for those who were mistreated. There he met the great John Chrysostom who was at that time Patriarch of Constantinople and told him about the unjust treatment by the authorities of Gaza, for which reason he went to Constantinople. The divine Chrysostom therefore introduced him to the cubicularius of the emperor, whose name was Amantios.

The empress Eudoxia learned of the proposal of the Saint from the cubicularius, and she graciously received him, referring everything concerning him to the emperor, as well as the prophesy the Saint made in regards to a male child, which they were to give birth to, namely the young Theodosius. When the emperor learned about this, he rejoiced and thanked God. Later the empress gave birth to Theodosius the new, she then invited Saint Porphyrios for him to receive his blessing, and he also sought to complete all that he proposed, of which he asked the emperor. However, the emperor had difficulties with the authorities, and said it was not possible to banish the idolaters and heretics from Gaza, because they were very useful and helpful. The empress replied to the Bishop: "Your request is a heavy one, O Master, but heavier still are your earnest prayers." For this reason the emperor inclined towards the Saint receiving what he asked for. Therefore he immediately sent an imperial order, for the heretics and idolaters to be banished from Gaza, whosoever had authority.

Then the blessed Porphyrios, after receiving from the empress two hundred pounds of gold, in order to build churches, and two hundred coins for expenses, returned to his eparchy. There he destroyed the temples to the idols, and banished the heretics. The temple of the Greek god named Marna he burned down with fire, and built there a church according to the plans described by the empress Eudoxia. This divine Father therefore shined in his eparchy, and performed many miracles over the course of twenty-four years and eleven months and eight days, after which he departed to the Lord.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Adorned with the royal purple of thy virtues, thou wast glorious as a Hierarch and didst shine forth resplendently, O wise Porphyrios; for thou wast excellent in word and deed, and didst strengthen all with the grace of godliness. As thou dost ever serve Christ, cease not to pray for the world.

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Clothed in sacred virtue, thou wast adorned with the priestly vestment, O blessed and godly Porphyrios. Thou art resplendent with miracles of healing, and dost ever intercede for us all.