November 29, 2015 -
"A SAINT FROM THE “GOLDEN AGE” OF CHRISTIANITY”
Dominating the theological scene around the end of the fourth century were the three great hierarchs we all know, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom. During this same era, an overlooked saint name AMPHILOCHIOS was working fervently to advance the early Christian cause. Although he enjoyed the friendship of the Three Hierarchs, he preferred to assist in a more quiet manner.
Around the age of 25, he fled the tumult of the world and withdrew to a cave to live. He desired to find solitude and the spiritual refreshment that can only be found in self-denial. For 40 years, he dwelled in the remote wilderness.
Upon the death of Archbishop John, the episcopal throne fell empty. Following an appearance by an angel of the Lord. Amphilochios left his seclusion to be consecrated Bishop of Iconium. He participated in the 2nd Ecumenical Council in 381, zealously fighting against the threat of Arianism, a group that contended that God the Son was NOT to be revered in exactly the same manner as the Father.
He shepherded Christ’s flock well for many years during the reign of Emperor Theodosius The Great and his sons. He once had an audience with the pious Emperor, attempting to have the Arians banished from the kingdom. Amphilochios decided to do something wise yet memorable to disprove the false belief of Arianism. Appearing before Theodosius, with his son, the co-Emperor, sitting beside him, Amphilochios paid reverence to the father but completely ignored the son.
This dramatic gesture of slighting the Emperor’s son enraged the ruler. But Amphilochios explained: “Do you see, O Emperor, how you have become angry with me because you cannot bear to see your son held in disdain? Similarly, God the Father cannot suffer those who do not honor His Son as they should. The Father detests and turns away from those who blaspheme His Son, and His anger is upon those who have communion with their accursed heresy!”
The Emperor understood and admired Amphilochios’ ingenious device. The saint’s wise parable helped illustrate the folly of Arianism. The Emperor issued a decree, commanding that the Arians be driven out of every city by force. Thus, Amphilochios emerged victorious and helped cleanse the church of these heretics.
The Saint went on to other triumphs including writing numerous treaties and books. Upon reaching a deep old age, Amphilochios peacefully reposed but his work as a defender of the Christian faith lived on.