( skip to main content )

Saints

Commemorated on May 12th

St Epiphanios, Bishop of Cyprus

Epiphanios,_Bishop_of_Cyprus 12th May

St Epiphanios was born about 310 in Besanduc, a village of Palestine, of Jewish parents who were poor and tillers of the soil. In his youth he came to faith in Christ and was baptized with his sister, after which he distributed all he had to the poor and became a monk, being a younger contemporary of St Hilarion the Great (commemorated October 21), whom he knew. He also visited the renowned monks of Egypt to learn their ways of asceticism. The fame of his virtue had spread, and many in Egypt desired to make him a Bishop. When he learned of this, he fled, returning to Palestine. However, after a time he learned that the Bishops there also intended to consecrate him to a widowed Bishopric, and he fled to Cyprus. In Paphos he met St Hilarion, who told him to go to Constantia, a city of Cyprus also called Salamis. Epiphanios answered that he preferred to take ship for Gaza, which, despite St Hilarion's admonitions, he did.

However, a contrary wind brought the ship to Constantia where, by the providence of God, Epiphanios fell into the hands of Bishops who had come together to elect a successor to the newly-departed Bishop of Constantia, and the venerable Epiphanios was at last constrained to be consecrated, about the year 367 AD. He was fluent in Hebrew, Egyptian, Syriac, Greek, and Latin, and because of this, he was called "Five-tongued". He had the gift of working miracles, and was held in such reverence by all, that although he was a known enemy of heresy, he was well nigh the only eminent bishop that the Arians did not dare to drive into exile when the Emperor Valens persecuted the Orthodox about the year 371 AD. Having tended his flock in a manner pleasing to God, and guarded it undefiled from every heresy, he reposed about the year 403 AD, having lived for 93 years. Among his sacred writings, the one that is held in special esteem is the Panarion (from the Latin Panarium, that is, "Bread-box"), containing the proofs of the truth of the Faith, and an examination of eighty heresies.

Dismissal Hymn (Fourth Tone)

O God of our Fathers, ever dealing with us according to Your gentleness: do not take Your mercy from us, but by their entreaties guide our life in peace.

Kontakion (Fourth Tone)

Let us the faithful duly praise the most wondrous and sacred pair of hierarchs, even Germanus together with the godly Epiphanios; for these righteous Saints of God burned the tongues of the godless with the sacred teachings which they most wisely expounded to all those who in Orthodox belief do ever hymn the great mystery of piety.