St. Philogonius, Bishop of Antioch, Confessor
From the panegyric, spoken by St. Chrysostom on his festival, t. 1, p. 492, ed. Montfauc.
ST. PHILOGONIUS was brought up to the law, and made a considerable figure at the bar, being admired for his eloquence, and still more for the purity of his manners and sanctity of his life. This was a sufficient motive for dispensing with the canons, which require some time spent among the clergy before a person be advanced to the highest station in the Church. Philogonius was placed in the see of Antioch, upon the death of Vitalis in 318, and St. Chrysostom mentions the flourishing state of that church in his time, as an authentic proof of his zeal and excellent administration. When Arius broached his blasphemies at Alexandria in 318, St. Alexander condemned him, and sent the sentence in a synodal letter to St. Philogonius, who strenuously defended the catholic faith before the assembly of the council of Nice. In the storms which were raised against the Church, first by Maximin II. and afterwards by Lucinius, St. Philogonius deserved the title of Confessor; he died in the year 322, the fifth of his episcopal dignity. His festival was celebrated at Antioch on the 20th of December, in the year 386, in which St. Chrysostom pronounced his panegyric, touching lightly on his virtues, because, as he says, he left the detail of them to his bishop, Flavian, who was to speak after him. 1
St. Chrysostom extols in the most amiable terms the overflowing peace which this saint now enjoys in a state of bliss, where there are no conflicts, no irregular passions, no more of that cold word, “Mine and Thine,” which fills the whole world with wars, every family with broils, and every breast with restless disquiets, gnawing pains, and prickling thorns. St. Philogonius had so perfectly renounced the world and crucified its inordinate desires in his heart, that he received in this life the earnest of Christ’s spirit, was admitted to the sacred council of the heavenly king, and had free access to the Almighty. A soul must here learn the heavenly spirit, and be well versed in the occupations of the blessed, if she hope to reign with them hereafter: she must beforehand have some acquaintance with the mysteries of grace, and the functions of divine love and praise. Persons are not called to the palace of an earthly king without having been fashioned, and for a long time exercised in the manners of the court, that they may not come thither utter strangers to the proceedings of the place, says St. Macarius. 1 2
Note 1. S. Macarius, Hom. 17, p. 265. [back]
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume XII: December.
The Lives of the Saints. 1866.