Commemorated on August 30
John and Paul, Constantinople Patriarchs, lived at different times, but
each of them happened to clash with the activities of heretics who sought to
distort the teachings of the Church. Saint Alexander (325-340) was a
"chor-bishop" (vicar bishop) during the period of the first
patriarch of Constantinople, Sainted Mitrophanes (315-325), and because of the
patriarch's extreme age substituted for him at the First OEcumenical Council at
Nicea against the Arians (325). Upon his death, Saint Mitrophanes had
instructed in his will to elect his vicar to the Constantinople throne. During
these times His Holiness Patriarch Alexander had to contend with the Arians and
with pagans. Once in a dispute with a pagan philosopher the saint said to him:
"In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ I command thee to be quiet!",
and the pagan suddenly became voiceless. When he gestured with signs of
acknowledgement of his errors and affirmation of the correctness of the
Christian teaching, then his speech returned to him and he believed in Christ
together with many other pagan-philosophers.
The heretic Arius was
punished through the prayer of Saint Alexander. The heretic deceitfully agreed
to enter into communion with the Orthodox, and the emperor Saint Constantine
set a day for receiving Arius. All night long Saint Alexander prayed, imploring
the Lord not to permit the heretic to be received into communion with the
Church. In the morning, when Arius triumphantly went to the church, surrounded
by imperial counselors and soldiers, he was stricken with illness on the
Constantine Square, – his belly exploded and the innards fell out.
Patriarch Alexander, having toiled much, died in the year 340 at the age of 98.
Sainted Gregory the Theologian (or Nazianzen, Comm. 25 January) made mention
about him afterwards in words of praise to the people of Constantinople.
Sainted John the
Faster (582-595) is in particular remembered by the Church on 2 September
(the account about him is located under this heading).
by birth a Cypriot, became Patriarch of Constantinople (780-784) during the
reign of the Iconoclast-emperor Leo IV the Khazar (775-780), and was a virtuous
and pious but timid man. Viewing the martyrdom, which the Orthodox endured for
holy icons, the saint concealed his Orthodoxy and associated with the
iconoclasts. After the death of the emperor Leo, he wanted to restore
icon-veneration but was not able to accomplish since, since the iconoclasts
were still quite powerful. The saint realised, that it was not in his powers to
guide the flock, and so he left the patriarchal throne and went secretly to the
monastery of Saint Florus, where he took the schema. He repented his silence
and association with the iconoclasts and talked of the necessity for convening
the Eighth OEcumenical Council to condemn the Iconoclast heresy. Upon his
advice, there was chosen to the patriarchal throne Saint Tarasios (784-806), at
that time a prominent imperial counselor. The saint died a schema-monk in the
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.