Commemorated on March 8
Theophylaktos lived at Constantinople in the VIII Century during the time
of the Iconoclast heresy. After the death of the iconoclast emperor Leo IV the
Khazar (775-780), there entered upon the throne the emperor Constantine VI
(780-797). There occurred also a change of Patriarchs: the holy Patriarch Paul
(Comm. 30 August), not having the strength to continue guiding the flock afront
the powerfully spread iconoclasm, voluntarily resigned the cathedra/chair
(784). In his place was chosen Saint Tarasios (Comm. 25 February) – at that
time an eminent imperial counselor. Under the supervision of the new Patriarch
was convened the Seventh OEcumenical Council (787), condemning the Iconoclast
heresy. For Orthodoxy a relatively peaceful time began. Monasteries again began
to fill with residents.
Saint Theophylaktos, a gifted student of Saint Tarasios and with the blessing of this the Patriarch, settled together with Saint Michael (Comm. 23 May) in a monastery on the coast of the Black Sea. The zealous ascetics by their God-pleasing labours and intense efforts of prayer were granted by God the gift of wonderworking. By their prayers, during the time of an intense drought when the workers in the field were weakened by thirst, an empty vessel became filled with so much water, that it sufficed for the entire day.
After several years in the monastery they were both consecrated by Patriarch Tarasios to the dignity of bishop: Saint Michael was made bishop of Synada, and Saint Theophylaktos was made bishop of Nicomedia.
Heading the Church of Nicomedia, Saint Theophylaktos constantly concerned himself about the flock entrusted to him. He built churches, hospices, homes for wanderers, he generously distributed alms, was guardian for orphans, widows and the sick, and himself attended to those afflicted with leprosy, not hesitating to wash their wounds.
When the iconoclast Leo the Armenian (813-820) came upon the imperial throne, the terrible heresy burst forth with new strength.
But the iconoclast emperor was not able to sway the successor of the holy Patriarch Tarasios – Saint Nicephoros (806-815, Comm. 2 June), who together with the bishops vainly urged the ruler not to destroy churchly peace. Present at the negotiations of the emperor with the Patriarch was Saint Theophylaktos, denouncing the heretics, and he predicted a speedy perishing to Leo the Armenian. For his bold prophesy the saint was sent into exile to the fortress Strobil (in Asia Minor). He languished for thirty years until his end, which occurred in about the year 845.
After the restoration of icon-veneration in the year 847, under the empress Saint Theodora (842-855; + 867, Comm. 11 February) and her son Michael, the holy relics of Bishop Theophylaktos were transferred back to Nicomedia.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.