Above: Metropolitan Philip II and Czar Ivan IV, by Vasili Purikev
Image in the Public Domain
SAINT PHILIP II OF MOSCOW (FEBRUARY 11, 1507-DECEMBER 12, 1569)
Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, and Martyr
St. Philip II of Moscow took a stand for righteousness while facing a tyrant. He knew what the high price for that action would be and did the right thing anyway.
Theodore Kolyshov was a nobleman and a soldier before, at the age of 30 years, he entered the monastery at Solovetsk, on the White Sea, and became Philip. Ten years later he became the abbot. He was not only a capable abbot but a skilled agricultural engineer; he designed a new drainage and irrigation system for the monastery grounds. In 1565 our saint became the Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia.
St. Philip II’s tenure was brief and politically difficult. Czar Ivan IV “the Terrible” (reigned 1547-1584) was a tyrant; he had political opponents executed, sometimes en masse. Our saint opposed the violent monarch. At Dormition Cathedral, Moscow, on March 2, 1568, the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, with Ivan IV in attendance, Philip II refused to bless the Czar. During the Eucharistic prayers St. Philip II said:
At this altar we are offering a pure and bloodless sacrifice for men’s salvation. Outside this holy temple the blood of innocent Christians is being shed. God rejects him who does not love his neighbor. I have to tell you this though I die for it.
–Quoted in Donald Attwater, The Penguin Dictionary of Saints (1965), page 283
Ivan IV had his revenge. He had St. Philip II deposed, convicted of false allegations (including sorcery), and sentenced to life imprisonment later that year. One of Ivan IV’s lackeys, obeying orders, choked our saint with a cushion at Otrosh monastery on December 12, 1569.
The Russian Orthodox Church canonized St. Philip II in 1636.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
NOVEMBER 14, 2016 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF JOHN AMOS COMENIUS, FATHER OF MODERN EDUCATION
THE FEAST OF THE CONSECRATION OF SAMUEL SEABURY, FIRST EPISCOPAL BISHOP
THE FEAST OF WILLIAM ROMANIS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER
Almighty God, who gave to your servant St. Philip II of Moscow
boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ
before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith:
Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,
and to suffer gladly for the sake of the hope that is in us,
and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2 Esdras 2:42-48
Psalm 126 or 121
1 Peter 3:14-18, 22
—Holy Women: Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 713