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July 4, 2020

Synaxarion of our Holy Father Michael Choniates the Metropolitan of Athens

On this day (July 4th) we commemorate our Holy Father Michael Choniates, Metropolitan of Athens, the Spirit-bearer.


Learned hierarch, Michael, the horn,
You adorned Athens with your pastorship.

Our holy God-bearing Father Michael the Choniates (1138-1222), had as his homeland Chonae in Phrygia, where his namesake Michael the Archangel performed the great miracle of changing the coarse of the river to save the temple there. He was a student at the feet of Niketas the Metropolitan of the city, who was made worthy of the gift of prophecy, as well as the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki Saint Eustathios while in Constantinople. Possessing all manner of outward wisdom he served the Patriarchate for a short time, and by divine grace was elected Metropolitan of the ancient and distinct though at that time indistinct city of Athens. There he labored towards the alleviation of his rational flock from their everyday needs, permanent hunger and pirate raids, as well as the spiritual fulfillment of clergy and laity of his presiding region. He was closely associated with venerable ascetics of the lavras on Mount Paneio, becoming equal in zeal to their way of life. The seizure of Athens by the Burgundian raid in the year 1204 and the forbidding of the exercise of his spiritual and pastoral duties led Michael into voluntary exile to Thessaloniki, Evia and Kea, where he remained for ten whole years working for his distressed flock. Finally he withdrew to the sacred Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner at Mountonitsa near Thermopylae, and having lived in peace he came to full measure in the year 1222, leaving behind a rich amount of written works and fame as a venerable hierarch.

Apolytikion in Plagal of the First
Most learned hierarch of Athens distributing sympathy to the struggles of the people, we sing hymns also for his struggles, Michael the Choniates, the river of wisdom and well-spring of scholarship, whose bold entreaties to the Savior are received.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Let us hymn the hierarch of Athens the most learned, philanthropic and teacher, assuager of our needs and zealous ascetic of the caves; as a pedestal of faith, Michael the Choniates, it is fitting to chant unto you: Rejoice, father most divine.

Excellent Chief Shepherd, Michael Choniates, glorious Athenian, we honor you as a father who was shown to be learned and a hierarch bright with dignity, and celebrating your all-revered memory we clearly cry out:

Rejoice, the offspring of Phrygia;
rejoice, the dwelling-place of wisdom.
Rejoice, the renowned pride of Athens;
rejoice, famous celebrant of the summit of mysteries.
Rejoice, all-shining lamp of the love of Christ;
rejoice, unshaken pillar of the protection of the people.
Rejoice, overthrower of darkness and delusion;
rejoice, servant of the rational flock.
Rejoice, you who are equal in zeal to the divine fathers;
rejoice, you who dwell in the land of the angels.
Rejoice, fervent aid of the hungry;
rejoice, speedy helper of those who toil.
Rejoice, father most-divine.

The professor of the wisdom of God, divine Choniates, most glorious Michael, the guardian and patron of Mesogaia, let is sing his praises together with the angels.