Tarasius of Constantinople

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St. Tarasius of Constantinople

Our father among the saints Tarasius of Constantinople was Patriarch of that see from 784 to 806. Patriarch Tarasius presided at the Seventh Ecumenical Council. He is commemorated by the Church on February 25.

Life

St. Tarasius was born and educated in Constantinople. He swiftly advanced to the rank of senator and royal advisor in the court of Emperor Constantine VI, and Constantine's mother, the holy Empress Irene.

During the iconoclast disturbances, the holy Patriarch St. Paul the New (August 30), who had formerly supported iconoclasm, repented and resigned his office. After the death of Emperor Leo, St. Paul wanted to restore icon veneration but was not able to accomplish this, since the iconoclasts were still quite powerful.

Irene and Constantine, with Paul's counsel, chose Tarasius to be Paul's successor in the year 783 A.D. Tarasius accepted this rank reluctantly in order to assist Orthodoxy in the struggle against heresies, especially against Iconoclasm. Tarasius was quickly elevated through the ecclesiastical ranks and became patriarch in 784.

In the year 787 the Seventh Ecumenical Council was convened in the city of Nicaea, with Patriarch Tarasius presiding, and 367 bishops attending. The veneration of holy icons was confirmed at the council. Those bishops who repented of their iconoclasm were again received by the Church.

St. Tarasius wisely governed the Church for 22 years. He led a strict ascetic life. He spent all his money on God-pleasing ends, feeding and giving comfort to the aged, to the impoverished, to widows and orphans, and on Holy Pascha he set out a meal for them, and he served them himself. Toward the powerful, Tarasius was decisive in his defense of faith and morals. When Emperor Constantine banished his lawful wife Maria (granddaughter of St. Philaret the Merciful), and sought a blessing from the patriarch for marriage to a kinswoman, Tarasius not only refused him a blessing, but first counseled him, after that reproached him, and finally forbade him to receive Holy Communion.

Before his death, devils tried to get the saint to admit to sins that he had not committed. Many saw how Tarasius replied to the demons saying: "I am not guilty of this sin! I am not guilty either of that sin!" Until his weakened tongue could not longer speak, he then began to defend himself with his hands driving away the demons. When he expired on February 25, 806, his face lit up like the sun.

Hymns

Troparion (Tone 4) [1]

You appeared to your flock as a rule of faith,
An image of humility and a teacher of abstinence.
Because of your lowliness, Heaven was opened to you.
Because of your poverty, riches were granted to you.
O holy bishop, Tarasius, pray to Christ our God to save our souls!

Troparion (Tone 3) [2]

You shone forth as a light of the Spirit,
Adorned with an exemplary life and clothed in hierarchical vesture.
You stilled the turbulence of heresy
And became a pillar and foundation of the Church,
Which praises your struggles, holy Father Tarasius.

Kontakion (Tone 3) [3]

You illumined the Church with Orthodox doctrine
and taught all to venerate and honor the precious image of Christ.
You vanquished the godless doctrine of the iconoclasts.
Therefore we cry to you:
"Rejoice, wise Father Tarasius."

External links


Succession box:
Tarasius of Constantinople
Preceded by:
Paul IV
Patriarch of Constantinople
784 – 806
Succeeded by:
Nicephorus I
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