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Our father among the saints Methodius I of Constantinople was Patriarch of Constantinople during the middle of the ninth century. Chosen as Patriarch of Constantinople by Empress Theodora after the deposition of the iconoclast Patriarch John VII Gramatikos, he followed a policy of moderation toward iconoclasts as veneration of the icons returned to the Church. His feast day is celebrated on June 14.
Methodius was born in Syracuse, Sicily during the last decade of the eighth century to wealthy parents, who sent him to Constantinople to further his education and to obtain an appointment to the imperial court. On arriving in Constantinople, Methodius was persuaded by a monk to follow a monastic life. He entered a monastery on the island of Chios, where eventually he became the abbot.
Early in the ninth century Leo V the Armenian, an iconoclast, became emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire and renewed the persecutions against the iconodules that included most of the monastic community. Patriarch Nicephorus I was deposed in 815 for resisting the iconoclastic laws and was banished from the city. Methodius apparently was sent as an envoy by Patr. Nicephorus to Rome in 815 to report on the situation to Pope Paschal. Methodius remained in Rome until the assassination of Emperor Leo in 820. Upon his return to Constantinople in 821, Methodius was arrested by the regime of the iconoclast Emperor Michael II, scourged, and sent into exile to Antigoni in Propontis. In 828, Methodius was released by Michael just before his death.
Emperor Theophilus, himself also an iconoclast, succeeded Michael in 829 and renewed the persecutions. Methodius confronted the emperor but was scourged and then confined in the palace. Finding Methodius firm in his beliefs under such punishment, Theophilius attempted to use argument during which Methodius was able to somewhat persuade Theophilius, who lessened the persecutions before his death in 842.
With the death of Theophilius, the situation changed greatly. The widow of Theophilius, Empress Theodora, a strong defender of the veneration of icons, became regent for her son Michael III. She re-established the conditions of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787. Patriarch John VII, an iconoclast would not repent his heresy and was deposed. Methodius was elected in his place. He summoned a synod at Constantinople in 842 that confirmed the deposition of John VII and his succession.
On March 11, 843, the restoration of the images was celebrated in a triumphal procession from the Church of Blachernae to Hagia Sophia, and thus established the holy day for the Orthodox Church that is celebrated each year on the first Sunday of Great Lent known as the "Triumph of Orthodoxy", the day upon which is read the "Synodikon of Orthodoxy" that was complied by St. Methodius.
St. Methodius reposed on June 14, 847 in Constantinople.
|Patriarch of Constantinople|