Bishop Paul celebrates name’s day November 6
CHICAGO, IL [MW Diocese Communications] — On Friday, November 6, 2015, His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest celebrates his name’s day — the Feast of Saint Paul the Confessor, Archbishop of Constantinople.
As faithful members of his flock, we wish His Grace every joy and blessing on this occasion, and pray that God will continue to grant him many years of faithful ministry as Bishop of the Diocese of the Midwest.
By way of background, Saint Paul the Confessor was raised to the See of Constantinople after the death of Patriarch Alexander in AD 340, when the Arian heresy had again flared up. Many of the Arians were present at the Council which selected the new Archbishop of Constantinople. They revolted in opposition to the choice of Saint Paul, but the Orthodox at the Council were in the majority.
The emperor Constantius, ruling over the Eastern half of the Roman Empire, was an Arian. He was not in Constantinople for the election of the Archbishop, and so it took place without his consent. Upon his return, he convened a council which illegally deposed Saint Paul, and the emperor banished him from the capital. In place of the saint, Eusebius of Nicomedia, an impious heretic, was raised to the office of Patriarch. Archbishop Paul withdrew to Rome, where other Orthodox bishops also had been banished by Eusebius.
Eusebius did not rule the Church of Constantinople for long. When he died, Saint Paul returned to Constantinople and was greeted by his flock with love. But Constantius exiled the saint a second time, and so he returned to Rome. The Western emperor Constans wrote a harsh letter to his Eastern co-ruler, which he sent to Constantinople along with the holy exiled archpastor. The threats worked, and Saint Paul was reinstated upon the archepiscopal throne.
But soon the pious emperor Constans, a defender of the Orthodox, was treacherously murdered during a palace coup. Saint Paul again was banished from Constantinople, sent in exile to Cucusus, Armenia, where he endured a martyr’s death. In 350, while Saint Paul was celebrating the Divine Liturgy, Arians rushed upon him by force and strangled him with his own omophorion. In 381, the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great solemnly transferred the relics of Saint Paul the Confessor from Cucusus to Constantinople. In 1326, the relics of Saint Paul were transferred to Venice.
Saint Athanasius the Great, a contemporary of Saint Paul, writes briefly about his exiles, “Saint Paul the first time was sent by Constantine to Pontus, the second time he was fettered with chains by Constantius, and then he was locked up in Mesopotamian Syngara. From there he was moved to Emesus, and the fourth time to Cappadocian Cucusus in the Taurian wilderness.”
O Holy Father among the Saints Paul, pray to God for us!