March 12 
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March 12

Great Lent.
Ven. Theophanes the Confessor, of Sigriane (818). Righteous Phineas, grandson of Aaron (ca. 1500 B.C.). St. Gregory Dialogus, Pope of Rome (604). Ven. Simeon the New Theologian (1021).

SAINT THEOPHANES THE CONFESSOR

12 mars

Saint Theophanes the Confessor was born in 759 at Constantinople into a pious and renowned family. His father was a relative of the Byzantine emperor Leo the Isaurian (717-741). Three years after Theophanes was born, his father died, leaving his family under the care of the emperor himself.

Theophanes grew up at the court and became a dignitary under the emperor Leo IV the Khazar (775-780). His position obliged him to enter into marriage, but he persuaded his bride to live with him in virginity.

After the death of his parents, Theophanes and his wife visited monasteries in the Sygrian district (Asia Minor). Theophanes met the Elder Gregory Stratitios, who predicted to Theophanes’ wife that her husband would earn the crown of martyrdom.

Later the wife of Theophanes was tonsured a nun in one of the monasteries in Bithynia, and Theophanes went to a monastery in the Cyzicus region. With the blessing of his Elder, Theophanes founded the Kalonymon monastery on an island in the Sea of Marmara and secluded himself in his cell, transcribing books. Theophanes attained a high degree of skill in this occupation.

Later, Saint Theophanes founded another monastery in Sygria, at a place called the “Big Settlement”, and became its igumen. He participated in all the work of the monastery, and was an example to all in his love for work and ascetical effort. He received from the Lord the gift of wonderworking, healing the sick, and casting out demons.

The Seventh Ecumenical Council met in Nicea in 787, which condemned the heresy of Iconoclasm. Saint Theophanes was also invited to the Council. He arrived dressed in his tattered garments, but he revealed his wisdom in affirming the veneration of the holy icons.

At the age of fifty, Saint Theophanes fell grievously ill and he suffered terribly until the day he died. Even on his deathbed, the saint continued to work. He wrote his CHRONOGRAPHIA, a history of the Christian Church covering the years 285-813. This work has remained an invaluable source for the history of the Church.

During the reign of the emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820), when the saint was advanced in age, the Iconoclast heresy returned. They demanded that Saint Theophanes accept the heresy, but he firmly refused and was locked up in prison. His “Big Settlement” monastery was put to the torch. The holy confessor died in 818 after twenty-three days in prison.

After the death of the impious emperor Leo the Armenian, the “Big Settlement” monastery was restored and the relics of the holy confessor were transferred there.

Troparion of the saint, tone 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile / And by your longing for God you brought forth fruits in abundance. / By the radiance of miracles you illuminated the whole universe. / O our holy Father Theophanes, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

Kontakion of the saint, tone 2

Receiving from God a revelation from the heights, thou swiftly didst leave the turmoil of the world, O Saint; and thou as a monk didst receive the power to perform miracles and the grace of true prophecy, depriving thyself of riches and thy spouse.

Isaiah 1:19-2:4 (6th Hour)

19
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
20
but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
21
How the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of justice; righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers.
22
Your silver has become dross, your wine mixed with water.
23
Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless, nor does the cause of the widow come before them.
24
Therefore the Lord says, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, “Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries, and take vengeance on My enemies.
25
I will turn My hand against you, and thoroughly purge away your dross, and take away all your alloy.
26
I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”
27
Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her penitents with righteousness.
28
The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together, and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
29
For they shall be ashamed of the terebinth trees which you have desired; and you shall be embarrassed because of the gardens which you have chosen.
30
For you shall be as a terebinth whose leaf fades, and as a garden that has no water.
31
The strong shall be as tinder, and the work of it as a spark; both will burn together, and no one shall quench them.
1
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
3
Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4
He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

Proverbs 1:20-33 (Vespers, 2nd reading)

20
Wisdom calls aloud outside; she raises her voice in the open squares.
21
She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city she speaks her words:
22
“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.
23
Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.
24
Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
25
Because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke,
26
I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes,
27
when your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.
28
“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
29
Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30
they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.
31
Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.
32
For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33
but whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Beside an anthology on Cistercian texts, Emma Cazabonne has translated and published articles on Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She converted to Orthodoxy in 2008. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

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