Science of the Saints, 3-XII (20 Nov.), Holy Father Gregory of Decapolis and Proclus Archbishop of Constantinople

The Monk Gregory Decapolites was born in the city of Isaurian Decapolis in the eighth century. From the time of his childhood he was fond of the temple of God and church services. He read constantly with reverence in the Holy Scripture. In order to avoid the marriage which his parents had intended for him, he secretly left home. He spent all his life wandering: he was in Constantinople, Rome, Corinth, and he pursued asceticism for a certain while on Olympus. 

The Monk Gregory preached everywhere the Word of God, denouncing the Iconoclast heresy, strengthening the faith and fortitude of the Orthodox, whom the heretics in those times were oppressing, torturing, and imprisoning. Through his ascetic effort and prayer, Saint Gregory acquired the graced gifts of prophecy and wonderworking. Having attained to purity of heart, he was granted to hear Angelic singing in praise of the Holy Trinity. To better contend against the Iconoclast heresy, Saint Gregory left the monastery of Saint Minos where he had asceticised for a long while, and he set off again to Constantinople. At the capital, a grievous illness undermined his strength, and he expired to the Lord in the year 816.

Sainted Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople, from his early years devoted all his time to prayer and the study of Holy Scripture. The Lord granted him the great good fortune to be a student of Saint John Chrysostom, who at first ordained him to the dignity of deacon, and then to the dignity of presbyter. Saint Proclus was a witness of the appearance of the Apostle Paul to Saint John Chrysostom. Saint Proclus received from his teacher a profound comprehension of Holy Scripture, and learned in polished form to elucidate thought. 

After the exile and death of Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Proclus was ordained by the holy Patriarch of Constantinople Sisinios (426-427) to the dignity of bishop of the city of Kyzikos, but under the influence of Nestorian heretics he was expelled by his flock there. Saint Proclus then returned to the capital and preached the Word of God in the churches of Constantinople, strengthening listeners in the Orthodox faith and denouncing the impiety of the heretics. Upon the death of the Patriarch Saint Sisinios, Saint Proclus was elevated to archbishop. Having thus been made Patriarch of Constantinople, he guided the Church over the course of twelve years (434-447). By the efforts of Saint Proclus, the relics of Saint John Chrysostom were transferred from Comana to Constantinople during the time of the holy emperor Saint Theodosius II (408-450).

During the time of Saint Proclus as patriarch the empire suffered destructive earthquakes, lasting for several months. At Bithynia, in the Hellespont, and in Phrygia cities were devastated, rivers disappeared from the face of the earth, and in previously dry places there occurred terrible flooding. The people of Constantinople together with the patriarch and emperor at the head came out from the city and made moliebens for the ceasing of the calamities, unprecedented in force. During the time of one molieben a boy from the crowd was snatched up into the air by an unseen force and carried off to such an height that he was no longer to be seen by human sight. Then, whole and unharmed, the lad was lowered upon the ground and he reported, how that up above he heard and he saw how the Angels in glorifying God did sing: “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal.” All the people began to sing this Trisagion Prayer, adding to it the refrain: “Have mercy on us!” and the earthquakes stopped. The Orthodox Church sings still this prayer at divine services to this very day.

The Constantinople flock esteemed their Patriarch for his ascetic life, for his concern about the downtrodden, and for his preaching. Many works of the saint have survived down to the present day. Best known are his discourses against the Nestorians, two tracts of the Saint in praise of the Mother of God, and four tracts on the Nativity of Christ, setting forth the orthodox teaching about the Incarnation of the Son of God. The activity of the holy Patriarch in establishing decorum in all the church affairs gained him universal esteem. Surrounded by love and respect, Saint Proclus expired to the Lord in his declining years (+ 446-447).

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