Flavian the Confessor

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Our father among the saints, Flavian the Confessor (also Phlabianus) was Patriarch of Constantinople from 446 to 449. He is commemorated by the Church on February 16 and 18.


Saint Flavian became Patriarch after the death of holy Patriarch Proclus, during a time of various disturbances and heresies that threatened the unity of the church.

In the year 448, St. Flavian convened a local Council at Constantinople to examine the heresy of the archimandrite Eutyches, who admitted only one nature (the divine) in the Lord Jesus Christ. Persisting in his error, the heretic Eutyches was excommunicated from the Church and deprived of dignity. But Eutyches had a powerful patron in the person of Chrysaphios, a eunuch who then served as the chief minister of Emperor Theodosius II. The scheming eunuch had forced both empresses—the holy Pulcheria, sister of the emperor, and Aelia Eudokia, the emperor's wife—to withdraw from the imperial court, leaving himself in unchallenged authority.

Through intrigue, Chrysaphios brought Archbishop Dioscorus of Alexandria over to the side of Eutyches and obtained permission from the emperor to call the council soon to be known as the "Robber Council of Ephesus." Dioscorus presided at this council, gaining the acquittal of Eutyches and the condemnation of Patriarch Flavian by threats and force. St. Flavian was fiercely beaten during the sessions of this council by impudent monks led by a certain Barsauma. Even the impious Dioscorus, took part in these beatings. After this, heavy chains were put upon St. Flavian, and he was sentenced to banishment at Ephesus. Flavian died shortly afterwards, on August 11, 449, from the injuries he received from this attack. He was buried obscurely.

Pope Leo the Great, whose legates had been ignored at the council, protested and declared its decisions void.

Soon the many schemings of Chrysaphios came to light, he fell from power, and the emperor's sister Pulcheria returned to court. The sudden death of Emperor Theodosius on July 28, 450, left Pulcheria in power, along with her new husband, Marcian, who became the new emperor. Through Pulcheria's efforts, the relics of holy Patriarch Flavian were reverently transferred from Ephesus to Constantinople. The Council of Chalcedon, called in 451, condemned Eutyches, confirmed Pope Leo's Tome and glorified Flavian as a martyr.

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Flavian the Confessor
Preceded by:
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
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