St Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople
St Paul was from Thessalonica. He became the secretary of Alexander, Patriarch of Constantinople (commemorated August 30), a deacon, and then the successor of St Alexander in about 337 AD. Because of his virtue, his eloquence in teaching, and his zeal for Orthodoxy, the Arians hated and feared him. When the Arian Emperor Constantios, who was in Antioch, learned of Paul’s election, he exiled Paul and proclaimed the Arian Eusebius Patriarch. St Paul went to Rome, where he found St Athanasios the Great also in exile. Provided with letters by Pope Julius, Paul returned to Constantinople, and after the death of Eusebius in 342 AD, ascended again his rightful throne; the Arians meanwhile elected Macedonios, because he rejected the Son’s con-substantiality with the Father (and the divinity of the Holy Spirit besides). When Constantios, yet at Antioch, learned of Paul’s return, he sent troops to Constantinople to drive Paul out.
The Saint returned to Rome, where St Athanasios also was again in exile. Constans, Emperor of the West, Constantius’ brother, but Orthodox, wrote to Constantios that if Athanasios and Paul were not allowed to return to their sees, he would come with troops to restore them him-self. So Paul again returned to his throne. After the death of Constans, however, Constantios had Paul deposed. Because of the love of the people for St Paul, Philip the Prefect, who was sent for him, was compelled to arrest him secretly to avoid a sedition. Paul was banished to Cucusus, on the borders of Cilicia and Armenia; a town through which his most illustrious successor, St John Chrysostom would also pass on his way to Comana in his last exile. In Cucusus, about 350 AD, as St Paul was celebrating the Divine Liturgy in the little house where he was a prisoner, the Arians strangled him with his own omophorion, so much did they fear him even in exile. His holy relics were brought back to Constantinople with honour by the Emperor Theodosios the Great.
Dismissal Hymn (Third Tone)
Your confession of the one divine Faith showed you to the Church to be a new Paul and a zealot among priests, O holy one. The righteous blood of both Abel and Zachary with you cry out together to the Lord. Righteous Father, intercede with Christ God in our behalf that His great mercy may be granted to us.
Kontakion (Second Tone)
You shun on earth, a star bright with celestial light, and now you shine enlightenment on all the Church, in behalf of which you struggled, laying down your life, O Paul, and like Abel and Zachary, your blood cries out most clearly to the Lord.