June 14, 2019 Length: 1:37
He was born to wealthy parents in Syracuse of Sicily. He entered monastic life and in time became a priest in the service of Patriarch Nikephoros. Because of his great and well-known zeal for the holy icons, he was cruelly persecuted by a succession of iconoclast emperors. Around 815, he was sent as an ambassador to Rome on behalf of the Patriarch, who had been exiled by the Emperor Leo the Armenian. When he returned to Constantinople upon Leo's death, he was immediately exiled and imprisoned by Leo's successor, Michael the Stutterer. Upon Michael's death he was freed for a short time, but soon the Emperor Theophilus had him exiled to an island where, says the Prologue, "he spent seven years in prison with two common robbers, in damp conditions, without light and without sufficient food, as if in a grave." When the pious Empress Theodora restored the Empire to Orthodoxy, he was freed and elevated to Patriarch of Constantinople. On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, we commemorate the restoration of the Holy Icons by Theodora and Methodios. Despite many attacks by heretics while he was Patriarch, he served faithfully and reposed in peace.