Commemorated on May 23
Michael the Confessor yearned from his youthful years for the monastic life
and was directed by His Holiness Patriarch Tarasios (784-806) to a monastery,
located at the coast region of the Black Sea. There also entered the monastery
together with him – Saint Theophylaktos (Comm. 8 March), the future bishop of
Nikomedia. At the monastery both monks proceeded through the efforts of
salvation and soon were glorified by graced gifts from the Lord. Once during a
time of harvest, when the people were weakened by thirst, by the prayer of the
monks an empty metal vessel was filled with water.
Patriarch Tarasios ordained Saint Michael as bishop of the city of Synada.
Through his holy life and wisdom, Saint Michael gained the deep love of
believers and the particular notice of the emperors Nicephoros I (802-811) and
Michael I Rangaves (811-813). In the year 787 Saint Michael was present at the
Seventh OEcumenical Council at Nicea.
When the Iconoclast
heretic Leo the Armenian (813-820) entered upon the throne, he began to expel
Orthodox hierarchs from their cathedrae-seats, appointing in their place his
Saint Michael during
this time firmly defended Orthodoxy, bravely opposing the heretics and
denouncing their error. Leo the Armenian brought Saint Michael to trial, but
not fearing torture he answered resolutely: "I venerate the holy icons of
my Saviour Jesus Christ and the All-Pure Virgin, His Mother, and all the saints,
and it is to them I bow down. Thine decrees about the removal of icons from
churches I shall not fulfill". Leo the Armenian then banished Saint
Michael to imprisonment in the city of Eudokiada, where the confessor died in
about the year 821. The head of Saint Michael is preserved in the Laura of
Saint Athanasias on Mount Athos, and part of the relics – are at the Iversk
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.