June 14

From the Prologue

Methodius was born in the town of Syracuse in Sicily. After the completion of his secular studies, he was tonsured a monk and began to live a life of asceticism in a monastery. Patriarch Nicephorus took him into his service. During the reign of the iconoclastic emperors, he became widely known as a superb defender of the veneration of icons. For this, the wicked Emperor Theophilus exiled him to an island with two common criminals where he languished in a damp prison for seven years without light and without sufficient food as though in a grave. During the time of the pious Empress Theodora and her son Michael, Methodius was freed and was chosen as patriarch (according to an earlier prophecy of St. Joannicius the Great). The first week of the Great Fast [Lenten Season] Methodius solemnly carried the icons into the church and wrote a Canon in honor of icons. Unable to outwit him, the vile heretics hired a woman who declared that the patriarch had an impure relationship with her. The whole of Constantinople was horrified at this slander. Nevertheless, not knowing how he could otherwise prove his innocence, the patriarch overcame his embarrassment, removed his clothes and stood naked before the court which he himself had requested, and showed his withered body, debilitated from fasting. The court was clearly convinced that the patriarch had been slandered. Hearing of this, the people rejoiced and the heretics were shamed. Then, the woman admitted that she was persuaded and paid to bring this slander against the saint of God. Thus, those who thought to bring shame upon Methodius unintentionally increased his fame. This great confessor of the Faith died peacefully in the year 846 A.D. and took up habitation in the Kingdom of God.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas