March 6, 2023 - Amshir 27, 1739
Departure of St.Eustathius, Patriarch of Antioch
On this day of the year 330 A.D., St. Eustathius, Patriarch of Antioch, departed in exile. He was enthroned Patriarch of Antioch during the reign of the righteous Emperor Constantine the Great. He was righteous and well learned. He attended the Nicene Council, and the fathers gathered there agreed on excommunicating Arius and exiling him and all those who believed in his teachings. Those were Eusabius the Nicomedian; Thaoghonius, Bishop of Nicea; and Eusabius, Bishop of Caesarea.
After the council was concluded and the fathers went back to their parishes, those who were excommunicated pretended that they wished to go to Jerusalem, but instead they went to Antioch. There, they enticed a harlot with money and other things in order to accuse St. Eustathius the Patriarch that he fathered a child from her. She took the money and went to the church and said as they had instructed her. They pretended to disbelieve her and said, 'Bring forth your proof if you are truthful in what you are saying. We will not accept your statement unless you swear on the Bible that what you claim against this father is true.' She swore to them and they replied, 'We do not need any more proof.'
They condemned St. Eustathius and judged to strip him from his episcopal rank. They informed Emperor Constantine saying: 'A council of clerics judged to remove Fr. Eustathius, Patriarch of Antioch, from his office'. The Emperor believed their unfounded judgement, and he deposed and banished St. Eustathius to Thrace where the saint remained until his departure.
The Lord God, Who loves His holy servants, did not neglect to reveal the truth. The woman became ill with a debilitating long illness and suffered great pain. She realized that her suffering was a punishment for her false accusation against the Saint. She came and confessed before the people of the city that the charge she had brought against St. Eustathius the patriarch was untrue. She pointed at those who bribed her with money to lie. She indicated that the Patriarch was innocent and that the child was born to another man whose name was the same as the Patriarch. They convinced her to swear against the Saint but at the same time to mean in heart her friend who was the father of the child, to be saved from falsely swearing.
The priests resumed mentioning the name of St. Eustathius in the divine liturgy after his innocence was evident. He was eulogized and praised by St. John Chrysostom (of the Golden Mouth)on the day of his commemoration.