Saint Theophilos the Confessor

Commemorated on October 10

      Saint Theophilos the Confessor came from the surroundings of Tiberiada. At thirteen years of age the saint secretly left his home to go off to the laura-monastery on Mount Selenteia, where he matured spiritually under the guidance of the elder, Saint Stephen. After three years Saint Theophilos accepted tonsure into the monastic ranks. When the parents of the saint learned where their son was, they went then to the monastery and besought the hegumen to send off both Theophilos and several of the brethren, to establish a new monastery closer to the parental home. The hegumen bid all the monks to fast and to pray, so that a sign might be received. On the third day in church was heard a voice, giving the blessing to send off Theophilos, since he would become reknown by his many spiritual exploits at the new monastery.
      There eventually ensued the reign of the iniquitous iconoclast emperor, Leo the Isaurian (717-741). Saint Theophilos openly revolted against the iconoclast folly. In accord with the emperor's orders, they subjected the saint to beatings, and they led him through the city all tied up like a criminal. The emperor then gave Theophilos over into the charge of the official, Ipatios. Ipatios tried every which way to compel the confessor to renounce holy icons, but he could not budge him. On the contrary, Saint Theophilos succeeded in persuading over Ipatios instead. He cited in proof the brass serpent erected by Moses (Num. 21: 9), the corroboration of the Cherubim atop the Ark of the Covenant, and finally he reminded, how the Saviour Himself had given to Abgar the prince of Edessa His Image Not-Wrought-by-Hand (Comm. 16 August). Persuaded in mind by this conversation, Ipatios gained permission of the emperor to set free the saint. The confessor returned to the monastery founded by him. He lived there but a short while, and in the year 716 Saint Theophilos expired peacefully to the Lord.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.