14 June 2024

St Methodius, Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople

From Fr Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints:

HE was a Sicilian of high birth, and very learned. Forsaking the world, he built a monastery in the island of Chio, but was afterwards called to Constantinople by the patriarch St. Nicephorus, whom he accompanied in his two banishments, under the Iconoclast emperor, Leo the Armenian. In 817 he was sent by that patriarch Apocrisiarius or Nuncio to Rome. Upon he news of the death of St. Nicephorus, he returned to Constantinople; but was thrown into prison by the heretical emperor Michael the Stammerer, where he remained till the end of his reign. In 830 he was released by the Catholic empress Theodora, but soon after banished by her impious husband Theophilus. That prince dying in 842, Theodora became regent for her son Michael III., and placed Methodius in the patriarchal chair of Constantinople. He purged that church of heresy, and instituted an annual least of thanksgiving, called the Festival of Orthodoxy. Having filled that see four years, he died of a dropsy on the 14th of June, 846. His immediate successor, St. Ignatius, celebrated his festival yearly, and it is kept both by the Latin and Greek churches. Having had his jaw broke in the persecution, he wore a bandage under his chin to support it. The works of St. Methodius consist of penitential canons, certain sermons, and an encomium of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, in which some think he made use of the works of Hilduin, which he probably saw at Rome. See his life, written by a contemporary author in the Bollandists, and Fleury b. 48, n. 48.

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