February 2012- St. Meletios, Archbishop of Antioch

Saint Meletios struggled quite zealously against the Arian error, but through the intrigues of the heretics he was thrice deposed from his cathedral; The Emperor Constantius had become surrounded by the Arians and had been swayed over to their position. In all this Saint Meletios was distinguished by an extraordinary gentleness, and he constantly led along his flock by the example of his own virtue and kindly disposition, presupposing that upon suchlike a soil sprouts more readily the seeds of the true teaching of the faith.  It was written of him that;  The qualities of Meletius were genuine; a simple life, pure morals, sincere piety and affable manners. He had no transcendent merit, unless the even harmonious balance of his Christian virtues might appear transcendent. The new bishop held the affection of the large and turbulent population he governed, and was esteemed by such men as St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Basil, and even his adversary St. Epiphanius. St. Gregory Nazianzen tells us that he was a very pious man, simple and without guile, full of godliness; peace shone on his countenance, and those who saw him trusted and respected him. He was what he was called, and his Greek name revealed it, for there was honey in his disposition as well as his name.

Saint Meletios ordained the future hierarch Saint Basil the Great a deacon. He also baptized and encouraged the spiritual growth of the greatest luminaries of Orthodoxy – Saint John Chrysostom, who afterwards wrote an eulogy to his former arch-pastor.

In the year 363, Saint Meletios wrote his theological tract, "Exposition of the Faith", which facilitated the conversion to Orthodoxy of many of the Arians. In the year 381, the Second Ecumenical Council was convened at Constantinople and Archbishop Meletios was appointed to preside over it. Before the start of the Council, Saint Meletios raised up his hand displaying three fingers, and then conjoining together two fingers and bending the one he blessed the people, proclaiming: "We apprehend three hypostatic-persons, and we speak about one self-same nature," – and with this declaration of the saint there flashed the fire of a lightning-bolt. During the time of the Council Saint Meletios expired to the Lord. Saint Gregory of Nyssa honoured the memory of the deceased with a eulogy. The relics of Saint Meletios were transferred from Constantinople to Antioch.

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