Commemorated on February 12
Archbishop of Antioch, was at first a bishop of Sebasteia in Armenia
(c.357), and afterwards he was summoned by the emperor Constantius to Antioch
to help defend against the Arian heresy, and received there the cathedra-seat.
struggled quite zealously against the Arian error, but through the intrigues of
the heretics he was thrice deposed from his cathedra-seat; Constantius had
become surrounded by the Arians and had been swayed over to their position. In
all this Saint Meletios was distinguished by an extraordinary gentleness, and
he constantly led along his flock by the example of his own virtue and kindly
disposition, presupposing that upon suchlike a soil sprouts more readily the
seeds of the true teaching of the faith.
Saint Meletios was
the one who ordained as deacon the future hierarch Saint Basil the Great. And
Saint Meletios also baptised and encouraged the growth under him of another of
the greatest luminaries of Orthodoxy – Saint John Chrysostom, who afterwards
wrote an eulogy to his former archpastor.
the throne was occupied by Julian the Apostate, and the saint again was
expelled, having to hide himself away in secret places for his safety. But
again returning under the emperor Jovian in the year 363, Saint Meletios wrote
his theological tract, "Exposition of the Faith", which facilitated
the conversion to Orthodoxy of many of the Arians.
In the year 381,
under the emperor Theodosius the Great (379-395), the Second OEcumenical
Council was convened. Already in the year 380 the saint had set off on his way
to the Second OEcumenical Council at Constantinople, and came to preside over
it. Before the start of the Council, Saint Meletios raised up his hand
displaying three fingers, and then conjoining together two fingers and bending
the one he blessed the people, proclaiming: "We apprehend three
hypostatic-persons, and we speak about one self-same nature," – and with
this declaration of the saint there flashed the fire of a lightning-bolt.
During the time of the Council Saint Meletios expired to the Lord. Saint
Gregory of Nyssa honoured the memory of the deceased with an eulogistic word.
There are preserved
discourses of Saint Meletios concerning the One-in-Essence nature of the Son of
God with God the Father, and also his letter to the emperor Jovian about the
confessing of the Holy Trinity. The relics of Saint Meletios were transferred
from Constantinople to Antioch.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.