Commemorated on November 6
Archbishop of Constantinople, was chosen to the patriarchal cathedra-seat
after the death of Patriarch Alexander (+ 340), when the Arian heresy had again
flared up. Many of the Arians were present at the Council which selected the
new Constantinople patriarch. They revolted in opposition to the choice of
Saint Paul, but the Orthodox at the Council were in the majority. The emperor
Constantius, ruling over the Eastern half of the Roman empire, was an Arian. At
the time of the election of the patriarch he was not in Constantinople. Upon
his return, he convened a council, which illegally declared the dethronement of
Saint Paul, and the emperor banished him from the capital. In place of the
saint they raised up Eusebios of Nicomedia. Patriarch Paul withdrew to Rome,
where also were other Orthodox bishops banished by Eusebios.
Not for long did
Eusebios rule the Constantinople Church. When he died, Saint Paul returned to
Constantinople. He was greeted by his flock with love. But Constantius exiled
the saint a second time, and so he returned to Rome. The Western emperor
Constans wrote his Eastern co-ruler an harsh letter, which he dispatched to
Constantinople along with the holy exiled archpastor. The threats worked, and
Saint Paul was reinstated upon the patriarchal throne.
But soon the pious
emperor Constans, a defender of the Orthodox, was treacherously murdered during
a palace coup. They again banished Saint Paul from Constantinople and this time
sent him off in exile to Armenia, to the city of Kukuz, where he accepted a
martyr's death. When the Patriarch was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, Arians
rushed upon him by force and strangled him with his own hierarchical omophor.
This occurred in the year 350. In the year 381 the holy Emperor Theodosius the
Great solemnly transferred the relics of Saint Paul the Confessor from Kukuz to
Constantinople. In 1326 the relics of Saint Paul were then transferred to
Saint Athanasias the
Great, a contemporary of Saint Paul, writes briefly about his exiles:
"Saint Paul the first time was dispatched by Constantine to Pontus, the
second time fettered in chains by Constantius, and then he was locked up in
Mesopotamian Syngara and from there moved to Emesus, and the fourth time to
Cappadocian Kukuz in the Taurian wilderness".
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.