St. Amphilochius, a brave defender of the faith against heresies

St. Amphilochius, of Iconium

December 06, 2021

St Amphilochius

A friend of Saint Basil the Great, he was a steadfast opponent of the heresies of Arius and Macedonius, and a beloved shepherd of his flock. He was also the author of several books on Christianity.

Leaving his home, he lived in a hermitage in a remote cave before he was chosen and ordained as the Bishop of Iconium. In this capacity, he went to the Second Ecumenical Council and spoke vehemently against the heretics who attacked the teachings of the faith on the Holy trinity.

He was serving at a time when various heretic doctrines were taking prominence, all of them attacking the Church's doctrine of a tri-unite God. They were being advocated by Arius and his multiple followers. The more extreme versions of Arianism – taught by Madedonius, twice bishop of Constantinople and Eunomius, Bishop of Cyzucus were gaining increasing prominence, and influence among the ruling classes of Byzantine.

Saint Amphilochius addressed the council with convincing refutations of these false teachings. In addition, he went before the emperor of Byzantine Athanasius the Great imploring him to banish the Arians from the Empire's cities and churches. When the Emperor ignored his advice, he went before him again, this time with a practical demonstration of the falsehood of the Arians' anti-trinitarian teachings.

Appearing at the Emperor's throne, in the presence of the emperor's son, he bowed to the emperor, but not to his son. Furious, Emperor Theodosius ordered Amphilochius to be driven from the court. Then the saint explained: "O Emperor, did you not tolerate the indignity paid to your son? In the same way, God the Father does not tolerate dishonour to His Son, paid by the adherents of that accursed Arian heresy."

Hearing this, the Emperor appreciated the wisdom and courage of the bishop and took greater heed to his advice.

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