Saint Michael the Confessor at Constantinople

Saint Michael the Confessor was born at Jerusalem into a family of zealous Christians and at an early age devoted himself to monastic life. After the death of his father, his mother and sisters went to a monastery, and Saint Michael was ordained as a priest. He was famed as a strong preacher, and therefore the Jerusalem Patriarch Thomas I took him under his wing and advanced him in the calling of “synkellos” (dealing in matters of church governance).

At this time there reigned the Iconoclast emperor Leo the Armenian (813-820). The patriarch sent Saint Michael to him, together with the holy brothers Saints Theodore (December 27) and Theophanes (October 11), with the hope that they might persuade the emperor to cease his persecution against the Orthodox. The emperor subjected Saint Michael to beatings and sent him off into exile.

Later having returned from exile, the monk again suffered for the veneration of holy icons under the emperor Theophilus (829-842). The companions of Saint Michael, Saints Theodore and Theophanes, were subjected to horrible torments: upon their faces was put red-hot brands with an inscription slandering them. They received the title “the Branded.” Again condemned, Saint Michael was sent with his disciple Job to the Pabeida monastery.

After the death of Theophilus, the empress Theodora (842-855) restored the veneration of holy icons, and ordered the return of Christians banished by the Iconoclasts. She made the offer that Saint Michael might occupy the patriarchal throne in place of the deposed iconoclast, Grammatikos. But the holy martyr declined this. Thus upon the patriarchal throne entered Saint Methodius.

Saint Michael the Confessor to the end of his days toiled in the position of “synkellos.” He died peacefully in about the year 845.