SAINT NICEPHORUS

June 2

From the Prologue

Nicephorus was a nobleman of Constantinople. His father Theodore, a high- ranking official of the imperial court, was wealthy and pious. Nicephorus served at the court for several years in the same profession as his father. Seeing all the vanity of the world, he withdrew to the shores of the Bosphorus and founded a monastery. The monastery was quickly filled with monks and he governed it but was not willing to receive the monastic tonsure under the pretext that he was not worthy, even though, in all things he served as a model to all. Before that, he participated in the Seventh Ecumenical Council [Nicea, 783 A.D.] as a layman at the wishes of the emperor and the patriarch and the Council benefited greatly by his superior knowledge of Sacred Scripture. When Patriarch Tarasius died, Nicephorus was elected patriarch against his will. Immediately following his election in the year 806 A.D., he received the monastic tonsure and in succession all other ecclesiastical ranks. He was enthroned as patriarch in the Church of the Divine Wisdom of God [Hagia Sophia]. This took place during the reign of Emperor Nicephorus who immediately, after that, went to war against the Bulgarians and was slain. His son, Stauracius, reigned only two months and died. After him, the good Emperor Michael, surnamed Rangabe, ruled but he reigned for only two years until he was overthrown by Leo the Armenian and banished into exile. When Leo was crowned, the patriarch sent him a book of the Orthodox Confession of Faith to sign (according to the custom of all Byzantine emperors which was considered an oath that they will uphold and defend the True Faith). The emperor did not sign it but rather postponed it until after the coronation. When the patriarch crowned him, Leo refused to sign the book and quickly proved himself to be a heretic; an iconoclast. The patriarch attempted to advise him and to restore him to the True Faith, but in vain. The emperor forcibly banished Nicephorus into exile to the island of Proconnesus where he remained for thirteen years enduring every kind of misery and privation and entered eternity in the year 827 A.D. As patriarch he governed the Church of Christ for nine years.





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