Commemorated on August 23
Kallinikos, Patriarch of Constantinople (693-705), was at first presbyter
in the temple of the Most Holy Mother of God at Blakhernae, but in 693 with the
death of Patriarch Paul (686-693), he was elevated to the Constantinople
throne. During this time reigned the cruel Justinian II (685-695), who
undertook the construction of a palace very near the church of the Most Holy
Mother of God and decided to demolish it. The emperor ordered Patriarch
Kallinikos to give his blessing for tearing it down. The patriarch answered,
that he had prayers only for the building of churches, not their destruction.
When the church was demolished, with tears he cried out: "Glory to Thee,
O Lord, in enduring all things".
Soon the wrath of God
befell Justinian. He was toppled from the throne and sent for imprisonment to
Chersonessus, where they cut off his nose (from which he received the nickname
"Short-nose"). Leontius (695-698) came upon the throne. After 10
years Justinian fled from his imprisonment, gathered an army and advanced on
Constantinople. He promised the Patriarch and the emperor that, in entering the
city, he would harm no one, and gave his oath on this before the Cross, the
Gospel and the Holy Mysteries. But having entered into Constantinople, he
immediately broke his oath and began to destroy the citizens and people of
importance, and beheaded the emperor. He ordered the holy Patriarch Kallinikos
seized, his eyes plucked out, his tongue and nose cut off, and be shut in alive
into a stone wall at Rome. After 40 days the walling collapsed and Saint
Kallinikos was found alive, although from weakness he hardly breathed and after
4 days he died (+ 705). The Apostles Peter and Paul appeared to the Roman
Pope John VI (701-705) in a vivid dream and commanded that Saint Kallinikos be
buried in the church of the Apostles at Rome.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.