Etna, California, U.S.A.


Icon of St. Photios painted at the Icon Studio of the
Convent of St. Elizabeth the Grand Duchess of Russia,
Etna, California

St. Photios the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople
(ca. 820-ca. 893)

The con­tem­po­rary Ser­bian holy man, Bish­op Niko­laj of Ohrid and of Žiča (†1956), the “New Chrysos­to­mos” of the Ser­bian Ortho­dox Church, called St. Pho­tios the Great “a great light of the Church,” while the holy Arch­bish­op Syme­on of Thes­sa­lonike (†1429) tells us that, like Mos­es, his face was said to have shone with Divine Light; hence, the Saint’s name, which is de­rived from the Greek word for “light” (φῶς). As a con­tem­po­rary schol­ar, Hieromonk Dr. Go­razd, one of our Church’s cler­gy who teach­es in the Hus­site Fac­ul­ty of The­ol­o­gy at the Charles Univer­si­ty in Prague and heads the In­sti­tute of Eastern Chris­tian­i­ty there, has writ­ten: “The holy Pa­tri­arch Pho­tios was not on­ly a man of as­ton­ish­ing eru­di­tion, al­to­geth­er ex­cep­tion­al in­tel­li­gence and abil­i­ties, and a per­son of aris­to­crat­ic de­scent and man­ners; he was al­so a gen­uine Hesy­chast: a man who ap­plied in his spir­i­tu­al life the prac­tice of Hesy­chasm, a method for at­tain­ing the ul­ti­mate goal of the Chris­tian life, theo­sis [θέωσις], or de­ifi­ca­tion by union with the En­er­gies of God.”

As a great Church fig­ure, a renowned schol­ar (the in­ven­tion of the book re­view is at­tribut­ed to him), a man trans­formed in ho­li­ness, and a tra­di­tion­al op­po­nent of the rise of the pa­pal monar­chy as a de­vi­a­tion from the spir­i­tu­al and ec­cle­si­o­log­i­cal hege­mo­ny of the pre-Schism Church, it is on­ly fit­ting that a tra­di­tion­al­ist Ortho­dox sem­i­nary, an­chored in the quest for in­tel­lec­tu­al and spir­i­tu­al en­light­en­ment and stand­ing firm­ly against the in­no­va­tions, re­li­gious syn­cretism, and mod­ern trends that as­sault the in­tegri­ty of Holy Scrip­ture and Holy Tra­di­tion, should be named in hon­or of St. Pho­tios the Great. As the son of pi­ous and no­ble par­ents who suf­fered for the Faith un­der the Icon­o­clast Em­per­or Theophi­los, as a close rel­a­tive of Saint Tara­sios, the pi­ous Pa­tri­arch of Con­stantino­ple, and as one who served the Church of Christ in ho­li­ness and in an evan­gel­i­cal man­ner, it is al­so suit­able that he should serve as a mod­el wor­thy of em­u­la­tion for stu­dents pur­su­ing ser­vice to God and the Church in a school ded­i­cat­ed to his mem­o­ry.


Apoly­tikion for the Feast of St. Pho­tios, Pla­gal of the First Tone:

As a bril­liant ex­pounder of wis­dom, thou wast shown to be a Divine­ly es­tab­lished de­fend­er of Ortho­doxy, O great Pho­tios, adorn­ment of the Fathers; for thou dost re­fute the pride of grievous here­sies, O Divine ray of the East and splen­dor of the Church, which do thou pre­serve un­shak­en, O Father.

Kon­takion, Pla­gal of the Fourth Tone:

With gar­lands of an­thems let us now crown the far-shin­ing lu­mi­nary of the Church, the God-in­spired guide of the Ortho­dox, the Divine­ly sound­ed harp of the Spir­it and the most stead­fast ad­ver­sary of here­sies, and let us cry to him: Re­joice, all-hon­ored Pho­tios.

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