September 17, 2022 - Tout 7, 1739

Departure of St. Dioscorus the Twenty-Fifth Pope of Alexandria

On this day of the year 451 A.D., departed the blessed father and the great hero of the Orthodox faith, Saint Discorus, the twenty-fifth Pope of Alexandria. His departure took place on the island of Gagra, after he had fought a good fight defending the Orthodox faith.

When he was summoned to the Council of Chalcedon by the order of Emperor Marcianus, he saw a great assembly of six hundred and thirty bishops. Saint Discorus said, In whom is faith lacking that it is necessary to gather this great assembly? They told him, This assembly has been convened by the emperor's command. He replied, If this assembly has been convened by the command our Lord Jesus Christ, I may stay and say what God gives me to say; but if this assembly has been convened by the emperor's command, let the emperor manage his assembly as he pleases. When he saw that Leo the Archbishop of Rome was teaching that Christ has two natures and two wills after His unity, he spoke to confute this new belief. He stated that our Lord Jesus Christ is one, He who was invited to the wedding as a man and changed the water into wine as God, and that the two natures were not separate in all of His works. Quoting Pope Cyril, he said, The union of the Word of God with the flesh is like the union of the spirit with the body, and like the union of fire and iron: even if they are of two different natures, by their unity they became one. Similarly, our Lord Christ is one Messiah, one Nature, and one Will. None of those who were gathered at that assembly dared to contradict him. Among them were some who had attended the Council of Ephesus, which had been convened against Nestor. They informed the Emperor Marcianus and the Empress Belkarya that no one disobeyed their commands concerning the faith of except Dioscorus the Patriarch of the City of Alexandria. They brought him, and the senior bishops of the Council debated and discussed the matter till it was evening, but St. Dioscorus would not deviate from his Orthodox belief.

The emperor and empress were irritated at this, and the empress commanded to smite him on his mouth, and to pluck out the hair of his beard, which was done. He took the hair and the teeth that had dropped out, and sent them to Alexandria saying, This is the fruit of Faith. When the rest of the bishops saw what had happened to Dioscorus, they agreed with the king, being afraid of undergoing the same fate. They signed the document of the belief that Christ has two distinct and separate natures. When St.Dioscorus knew this, he sent for the document pretending that he wanted to sign it too. But when he read the document, he wrote at its foot that he excommunicated them all as well as everyone who deviated from the Orthodox Faith. The king was enraged and he commanded to banish him to the Island of Gagra, along with St.Macarius, the Bishop of Edko, and two others, and the Council of Chalcedon was resumed.

When they took St.Dioscorus to the island of Gagra, its bishop, because he was a Nestorian, met him with contempt and disdain. But God performed at the hands of St.Dioscorus so that all obeyed him and magnified his greatness because God honors His chosen ones in every place. St.Dioscorus told St.Macarius, his companion in exile, You shall receive the crown of martyrdom in Alexandria. He sent him with one of the believing merchants to Alexandria, where he earned the crown of martyrdom.

St.Dioscorus, having ended his good fight, departed from this worthless life and received the crown of eternal life. He departed in the island of Gagra where his body was laid. May his blessings and prayers be with us all. Amen.