Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor (Dionysiou, 17th c.) – S386


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Egg Tempera


17th c.


Dionysiou Monastery, Mt. Athos, Greece


St. Maximos (a.d. 580-662) was a citizen of Constantinople and a high-ranking servant of the Emperor Heralius.  Called by Christ, he left behind his worldly life and became a monk in Philippicus Monastery, and eventually was chosen its abbot.  When Eutyches’ Monophysite Heresy (that Christ had only one nature) later developed into the Monothelite Heresy (that Christ had only one will), both the Patriarch Sergius I of Constantinople and the Emperor Heralius supported it, with many falling into heresy.

St. Maximos stood strongly against this political compromise to try to win back those who had separated themselves from the Orthodox Faith by earlier rejecting the teachings at the Fourth Ecumenical Council.  He went to Rome after defending the Orthodox doctrine with Pope Martin I at the Lateran Council.  They were both sent as prisoners to Constantinople, where St. Maximos was wrongly condemned as a heretic.  He was then beaten, tortured, spat upon,  imprisoned, and had his right hand and tongue cut off, but he miraculously still was able to confess and speak the truth.  He soon died in exile at a fortress in the Lazica district of Georgia.