My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,


ON the 11th of July, the Holy Orthodox Church commemorates
and far-famed Great-Martyr EPHEMIA (EUPHEMIA) at the Holy
and Fourth Ecumenical Synod attended by 630 God-bearing

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of Saint Ephemia. Third Tone

O EPHEMIA, Christ’s comely virgin, thou didst fill the Orthodox
with gladness and didst cover with shame all the heretics;
for at the holy Fourth Council in Chalcedon, thou didst confirm what
the Fathers decreed aright. O All-glorious Great Martyr, do thou
entreat Christ God that His great mercy may be granted unto us.

Kontakion Hymn of Saint Ephemia. Second Tone

FOR the sake of Christ thy Bridegroom thou didst ardently cast thyself
into struggles in thy contest, and into struggles for the Faith. Yet,
even now intercede, through the Theotokos, that the heresies and
insolence of enemies be put under the feet of the Orthodox Christians,
O all-famed Ephemia, who didst receive and guard the definition of the
six hundred and thirty God-bearing Fathers.

EPHEMIA, the gloriously triumphant Martyr of Christ, lived during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305 A.D.) when Priscus was Proconsul at Rome. In 288 A.D. Ephemia was born to Philophronos and Theodosiane at Chalcedon. The authorities were set at variance against her when she confessed Christ. Thus, she was harshly punished by a wheel of torture, fire, and many other gruesome torments. Afterward, they cast her to wild beasts to be rent asunder. Then, in accordance with her desire, a bear hit her. She then surrendered her soul into the hands of God on the 16th day of the month of September, in the year 303 A.D. Her august holy relics were taken up and placed inside a chest and interred in a certain place nearby Chalcedon. At length, the site of her tomb was an abundant wellspring of healing for every infirmity. Of the thousands of pilgrims and visitors that came to her resting place, many were cured. Thereupon, the spreading of Saint Ephemia’s fame went throughout the Byzantine world. Then, with the passage of about 150 years, a miracle of worldwide import took place.

In 420 A.D. during the reign of Emperor Theodosios II the Younger (408-450 A.D.), the Priest-monk Eftyches was benighted by the darkness of heresy. He was an Archimandrite of a large Monastery at Constantinople. He possessed great influence at court through the eunuch Chrysanthos, who was Theodosios II’s grand chamberlain. Eftyches (Eutyches), more like a madman, confounded the two natures of Christ. He contended that our Lord Jesus possessed ONLY ONE NATURE: THE DIVINE. Together with the Imperial Court, Eftyches also had the support of Dioscoros, the powerful Patriarch of Alexandria. By the year 447 A.D., Eftyches’ views created a controversy in Constantinople. Insisting ON ONE NATURE OF THE INCARNATE Logos (Word), together with his view that even Christ’s suffering were that of the Logos (Word), Eftyches DENIED THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST.

In the summer of 450 A.D., the tide turned, Emperor Theodosios died as a result of a fall off his horse while hunting. Grand Chamberlain Chrysanthos was deposed from his office and executed. The Emperor’s closest relative was his sister, the unmarried Pulcheria. By God’s permission, the future course of the Empire and the Church were in her pious and reliable hands. The energetic and devout maiden Pulcheria was then fifty-one years old. She selected as her consort the retired Senator, General Marchian, and even personally conducted his coronation ceremony. Their marriage was only in name, for Pulcheria remained true to her girlhood vow of virginity to the end of her life. Marcian shared Pulcheria’s view in matters of both state policy and theology.

A Synod, the Fourth Ecumenical Synod, was to be conducted under Imperial sponsorship…On account of the Hunnish invasions, Emperor Marcian found he could not leave the Capital. He ordered the Ecumenical Synod to reconvene in the Basilica at Chalcedon. In October of 451 A.D., the number of Fathers in attendance at Chalcedon was 630… The shrine of Saint Ephemia was situated in the center of the Basilica.

"…The Creeds of Nicaea and Constantinople were read openly…the bishops shouted, "This is the Faith of the Fathers and of the Apostles… On 17th of October, at the Fourth Session, there met 350 bishops… a commission, thereupon, consisting of three Papal legates, six Orientals, and three from Asia, as well as Pontos, Illyricum, and Thrace met at the Shrine of Saint Ephemia and worked out the Definition of the Synod of Chalcedon.

The Definition reads: "Therefore, following the Holy Fathers, we all WITH ONE VOICE CONFESS OUR Lord Jesus Christ one and same Son, the same perfect in Divinity, the same perfect in manhood, truly God and truly man, the same consisting of a reasonable soul and a body, of one essence with the Father as touching the Divinity, the same of one essence with us as touching the mahnood, like us in all things APART FROM SIN; begotten of the Father before the ages as touching the Divinity; …for us and for our salvation in these last days, born from the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, as touching the manhood, one and same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way abolished because of the union, but rather the characteristic property of each nature being preserved, and concurring into one Person and one subsistence, not as if Christ were parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten God, Logos/Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as the Prophets the beginning spoke concerning him, and our Lord Jesus Christ instructed us, and the Creed of the Fathers has handed down to us."

The heretics refused to accept the dogma formulated at this Holy Synod. Therefore, at the suggestion of Patriarch Anatolios, the Orthodox and Monophysites would each write down their beliefs and teachings in separate volumes. Both sides would then invoke Almighty God TO REVEAL A SIGN WHICH EXPRESSED THE TRUE FAITH. Now since Saint Ephemia was considered the Patroness of Chalcedon, the coffer containing her precious and incorrupt relics, located at the Saint’s church outside the walls, was opened. The imposing sight of the Saint’s holy relics, lying in state, was a mystical experience in itself. Both volumes were placed carefully upon the Saint’s chest. The reliquary was then closed with the Imperial Seal. A watch was also set over her holy relics, All, thereafter, retired to pray for Divine intervention.

On the fourth day, after the reliquary was opened, all were astonished at the following sight. The book of the heretics, the Monophysites, WAS FOUND TOSSED UNDER THE MARTYR’S FEET. THE BOOK OF THE DEFINITION OF THE ORTHODOX FAITH WAS HELD IN HER EMBRACE. The phenomenon caused wonder in all. Thus, the Monophysites were brought TO SHAME, SEEING THEIR HERETICAL TOME TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT, BUT THE ORTHODOX WERE STRENGTHENED IN THE Faith and glorified God. Saint Ephemia CONFIRMED WHAT THE FATHERS DECREED ARIGHT. This event PROVED AN INSPIRATION TO MANY WHO WERE FOUNDERING IN the Faith, and thus they corrected their erroneous beliefs. The recording of this account was made by one of the eyewitnesses, Bishop Constantine of Tios (or Teos of Eastern Asia Minor is northwest of Ephesus), a Synod member. {Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)


"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysosomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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