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Saints and Feasts: St Amphilochius the Bishop of Iconium

Saint Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium, was born in Caesarea in Cappadocia, a city which has given the world some of the greatest Fathers and teachers of the Orthodox Church. He was a first cousin to St Gregory the Theologian, and a close friend of St Basil the Great. He was their disciple, follower and of like mind with them.

St Amphilochius toiled hard in the field of Christ. He lived in the wilderness as a strict ascetic for about forty years, until the time when the Lord summoned him for hierarchic service. In the year 372 the Bishop of Iconium died. Angels of the Lord thrice appeared in visions to St Amphilochius, summoning him to go to Iconium to be the bishop. The truthfulness of these visions was proven when the angel, appearing to him the third time, sang together with the saint the angelic song: “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth.” The heavenly messenger led the saint to the nearest church, where an assembly of angels consecrated Amphilochius bishop.

The saint, on the way back to his cell, encountered seven bishops who were seeking him at the command of God, in order to establish him as archpastor of Iconium. St Amphilochius told them that he was already consecrated by the angels.

For many years St Amphilochius tended the flock of Iconium entrusted to him by the Lord. The prayer of the righteous one was so intense that he was able to ask the Lord to heal the spiritual and bodily infirmities of his flock. The wise archpastor, gifted as writer and preacher, unceasingly taught piety to his flock. A strict Orthodox theologian, the saint relentlessly confronted the Arian and Eunomian heresies. He participated in the Second Ecumenical Council (381), and he headed the struggle against the heresy of Macedonius. Letters and treatises of St Amphilochius are preserved, which are profoundly dogmatic and apologetic in content. The holy Bishop Amphilochius of Iconium departed peacefully to the Lord in the year 394.

Troparion — Tone 4

O God of our Fathers, / always always act with kindness towards us; / take not Your mercy from us, / but guide our lives in peace / through the prayers of the hierarchs Gregory and Amphilochius.

Kontakion — Tone 2

Holy thunder, spiritual trumpet, / nurse of the faithful and axe striking down heresy, / hierarch Amphilochius, / great and well-pleasing servant of the Trinity, / as you stand forever with the angels, / unceasingly pray for us all.

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