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S. Germanicus

A.D. 634—A.D. 734

S. Germanus of Constantinople was born in that city about 634. His father, Justinian, a patrician, had the ill-fortune to excite the jealousy of the Emperor Constantine Pogonatus, who put him to death, and obliged Germanus to enrol himself among the Clergy of the Great Church. Here he became distinguished for piety and learning, and in process of time was made Bishop of Cyzicus. In this capacity he assisted, with S. Andrew of Crete, in the Synod of Constantinople of which I have just spoken: and no doubt, he might be the more favourably disposed to Monothelitism because he had been so deeply injured by its great opponent, Pogonatus. However, he also, 86 at a late period, expressly condemned that heresy. Translated to the throne of Constantinople in 715, he governed his Patriarchate for some time in tranquillity. At the beginning of the attack of Leo the Isaurian on Icons, his letters, in opposition to the Imperial mandate, were the first warnings which the Church received of the impending storm. Refusing to sign the decrees of the Synod which was convoked by that Emperor in A.D. 730, and stripping off his Patriarchal robes, with the words—“It is impossible for me, Sire, to innovate, without the sanction of the Oecumenical Council,” he was driven from his See, not, it is said, without blows, and returned to his own house at Platanias, where he thenceforth led a quiet and private life. He died shortly afterwards, aged about one hundred years, and is regarded by the Greeks as one of their most glorious Confessors.


The poetical compositions of S. Germanus are few.

He has stanzas on S. Simeon Stylites, on the Prophet Elias, and on the Decollation of S. John Baptist. His most poetical work is perhaps his Canon on the Wonder-working Image in Edessa. But probably the following simpler stanzas, for Sunday in the Week of the First Tone, will better commend themselves to the English reader.

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