St Michael the Confessor the Bishop of Synnada

Saint Michael the Confessor From his youth he longed for the monastic life and was sent by Patriarch Tarasius (784-806) to a monastery on the coast of the Black Sea. St Theophylactus (March 8), the future Bishop of Nicomedia also entered the monastery together with him.

At the monastery both monks engaged in spiritual struggles and were soon glorified by gifts from the Lord. Once, during a harvest, when the people were weakened by thirst, an empty metal vessel was filled with water by the prayer of the monks.

Patriarch Tarasius consecrated St Michael as bishop of the city of Synada. Through his holy life and wisdom, St Michael won the love of believers, and the notice of the emperors Nicephorus I (802-811) and Michael I Rangabe (811-813). St Michael was present at the Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 787.

When the Iconoclast heretic Leo the Armenian (813-820) assumed the throne, he began to expel Orthodox hierarchs from their Sees, appointing heretics in their place.

St Michael defended Orthodoxy, bravely opposing the heretics and denouncing their error. Leo the Armenian brought St Michael to trial, but not fearing torture he answered resolutely, “I venerate the holy icons of my Savior Jesus Christ and the All-Pure Virgin, His Mother, and all the saints, and it is to them I bow down. I shall not obey your decrees to remove icons from churches.”

Leo then banished St Michael to the city of Eudokiada, where the confessor died about the year 821. The head of St Michael is preserved in the Great Lavra of St Athanasius on Mount Athos, and part of the relics are at the Iveron monastery.