St. Metrophanes the first Patriarch of Constantinople

Saint Metrophanes, Patriarch of Constantinople, was a contemporary of Saint Constantine the Great (306-337). His father, Dometius, was a brother of the Roman emperor Probus (276-282). Seeing the falseness of the pagan religion, Dometius came to believe in Christ. During a time of terrible persecution of Christians at Rome, Saint Dometius set off to Byzantium with two of his sons, Probus and Metrophanes. They were instructed in the law of the Lord by Bishop Titus, a man of holy life. Seeing the ardent desire of Dometius to labor for the Lord, Saint Titus ordained him presbyter. After the death of Titus first Dometius (272-303) was elevated to the bishop’s throne, and thereafter his sons, Probus (303-315) and in 316 Saint Metrophanes.

The emperor Constantine once came to Byzantium, and was delighted by the beauty and comfortable setting of the city. And having seen the holiness of life and sagacity of Saint Metrophanes, the emperor took him back to Rome. Soon Constantine the Great transferred the capital from Rome to Byzantium and he brought Saint Metrophanes there. The First Ecumenical Council was convened in 325 to resolve the Arian heresy. Constantine the Great had the holy Fathers of the Council bestow upon Saint Metrophanes the title of Patriarch. Thus, the saint became the first Patriarch of Constantinople.

Saint Metrophanes was very old, and was not able to be present at the Council, and he sent in his place the chorepiscopos (vicar bishop) Alexander. At the close of the Council the emperor and the holy Fathers visited with the ailing Patriarch. At the request of the emperor, the saint named a worthy successor to himself, Bishop Alexander. He foretold that Paul (at that time a Reader) would succeed to the patriarchal throne after Alexander. He also revealed to Patriarch Alexander of Alexandria that his successor would be the archdeacon Saint Athanasius.

Saint Metrophanes reposed in the year 326, at age 117. His relics rest at Constantinople in a church dedicated to him.

It should be noted that the Canons to the Holy Trinity in the Midnight Office in the Octoechos were not composed by this Metrophanes, but by Bishop Metrophanes of Smyrna, who lived in the middle of the ninth century.