St Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople
Born in the city of Syracuse in Sicily, he became a monk on completing his secular education and gave himself to the ascetic life in a monastery. Patriarch Nicephorus took him into his own service. During the time of the iconoclast Emperors, he was renowned on all sides as a staunch defender of the veneration of icons. For this reason, the wicked Emperor Theophilus exiled him to an island, where he spent seven whole years in prison with two common robbers, in damp conditions, without light and without sufficient food, as if in a grave. During the reign of the devout Empress Theodora and her son Michael, he was set at liberty and chosen as Patriarch, fulfilling an earlier prophecy of St Joannicius the Great. During the first week of the Great Fast, Methodius solemnly carried the icons into the church and wrote a Canon in their honour. Unable to get the better of him in any way, the vile heretics hired a woman to declare that the Patriarch had had physical relations with her. The whole of Constantinople was aghast at this slander. Not knowing how to prove his innocence in any other way, the Patriarch overcame his embarrassment and presented himself naked before the court, voluntarily showing them his body all withered and debilitated from fasting. The court was clearly persuaded that the Patriarch had been slandered. The people rejoiced at hearing this and the heretics were put to shame. Then the woman herself admitted that she had been persuaded and bribed to slander God's saint, and thus those who sought to bring shame on Methodius unwittingly increased his fame. This great confessor of the Faith died peacefully in 847, and went to the Kingdom of God.
* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
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