St Euphemia

13 May

St Euphemia:

The magnetism of Euphemia may not in itself have caused Chalcedon to be selected as the scene of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod but as events were to prove, it was very much a factor in assembling hierarchs from all over the empire, gathered where pilgrims from all walks of life had been visiting over a period of years. This momentous meeting is known as the Synod of Chalcedon, convened for the final settlement of a dispute that had been spreading unrest and uncertainty within the Church. It stemmed from the heretical doctrine that the Messiah had but one nature, the divine, which contradicted the concept long accepted that there was a dual nature in Jesus, the human with which man could identify and the divine which set him apart. Several well-meaning clerics, as well as those always on the lookout for a cause, came to accept the single and narrow view of the Saviour, and undiscerning Christians in considerable numbers joined in embracing this heresy.

Nearly 150 years had passed since the death of Euphemia when the Synod convened in the city of her resting place in A.D. 451. The assembled church dignitaries took sides in debate which resolved nothing, since neither side could offer concrete evidence that their viewpoint was the right one, despite the fact that tradition dating from the early days of the Church dictated that the dual nature of Christ was the only logical concept. The proceedings were orderly, but an impasse had been reached and every one looked to the patriarch for a final solution which would bring the now wearying Council to an end so that they could return to their respective parishes with a definitive conclusion. Since any form of compromise offered nothing in the way of settlement, the patriarch pondered the issue and then made the startling proposal that a spirit not of this world that had been performing miracles could be called upon to decide once and for all where the truth lay.

He proposed that a book of each doctrine be placed in a casket of the renowned St. Euphemia, wherein it may by some divine manifestation be determined which was in God’s favour. The casket of Euphemia was opened and the two books placed in her hands, after which all concerned retired to pray for a divine intervention that would guide them in the direction. When the casket was once again opened, the book espousing the single nature of Jesus Christ was at her feet and in her hands was clutched the age old book that spoke of the two natures of the Saviour.

Not even the most adamant of the opponents of the truth that lay in the hand of St. Euphemia could doubt this divine manifestation and the issue was put to rest with the miracle-working saint. The casket of St. Euphemia rests today in the patriarchal Church of St. George which has sheltered it with those of St. Theophan and St. Salome since A.D. 750. (via Holy Fathers)

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