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 Eutyches, which 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 Chrysathios, a eunuch close to the emperor.

Through intrigue, Chrysathios brought Bishop Dioscorus of Alexandria over to the side of Eutyches, and obtained permission from the emperor to call what was to be called 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 up during the sessions of this council by impudent monks led by a certain Barsumas.

Even the impious president of the Robber Council, the heretic Dioscorus, took part in these beatings. After this heavy chains were put upon St Flavian, and he was sentenced to banishment at Ephesus. The council reinstated Eutyches; Flavian died shortly afterwards, on August 11, 449, from the injuries he received from this attack. He was buried obscurely.

The holy Empress Pulcheria withdrew from the imperial court. Pope Leo the Great, whose legates had been ignored at the council, protested and declared its decisions void.

Soon the schemings of Chrysathios were revealed. The sudden death of Emperor Theodosius on July 28, 450 returned his sister Pulcheria to imperial power with the new emperor general Marcian as her husband. Through her 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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