St. Philaret was born in Amnia, Paphlogonia in Asia Minor in the 8th century. At first a rich man, he was incredibly generous, giving away his cattle, clothing, and even his food, until he and his family became poor. Even this did not stop him, and although his wife and children were hungry and lived in poverty, St. Philaret did not change his way of life, for generosity is a sign of God’s great mercy in a Christian heart and life.
When his granddaughter married the Roman Emperor in the East, his family was taken to Constantinople and showered with riches. Neither in richness nor in poverty did St. Philaret abandon God. He taught his children and grandchildren to do likewise. Because of this, he received great blessings from God. Given the gift of discernment when he was old, St. Philaret gathered his children around him and prophetically told them how their lives would develop, and this turned out to be true. When he died, his face shown like the sun and his body exuded a sweet fragrance. This is the fragrance of holiness so manifest in St. Philaret’s outpouring of love from a heart filled with God’s mercy and blessings.