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What is known about Theophylact of Nicomedia (also Theophylact of Constantinople; also Theophilus of Nicomedia) comes chiefly from a fairly full Bios written in about 870 (BHG 2451) and from a shorter Bios with somewhat different content written in the late ninth or early tenth century (BHG 2452). A native of Asia Minor, he studied in Constantinople under the future patriarch St. Tarasius, who then sent him along with St. Michael of Synnada to a monastery that he (Tarasius) had founded. There the ascetic Theophylact proved to be an exemplary monk and was rewarded with the gift of thaumaturgy. In about 800, Tarasius then being patriarch, Theophylact was raised to the metropolitan see of Nicomedia.
Bishop Theophylact was a paragon of pastoral care, preaching against iconoclastic views, succoring the poor and the lame, and establishing from his funds a hospital with a staff of doctors and attendants in which he himself worked as an attendant one day a week. After the iconoclast emperor Leo V had come to power in 813 Theophylact became a leading spokesman of the iconophile resistance. For this he was banished late in 814 or very early in 815 to a fortress in Caria, where he spent the remainder of his life in an exile of varying severity. Theophylact died in 845. His body was returned to Nicomedia a few years later and was laid to rest in a church that he had built. Thus far Theophylact's Bioi.
Patriarch St. Methodius I's Bios of St. Euthymius of Sardis (BHG 2145) provides the further information that Theophylact was one of three metropolitans who were exiled to Pantelleria by the emperor Nicephorus I (802-811) and released not long afterward on the intervention of St. Tarasius. Modern scholarship inclines to the view that Nicephorus' rationale for ordering the prelates' exile was their support, or alleged support, of the rebellion of Bardanes Tourkos in 803 (Bardanes' army had come through Nicomedia on its way toward Constantinople; how Theophylact reacted to its presence is unknown). Pantelleria is a small volcanic island roughly equidistant from Sicily and from Tunisia; in the early ninth century it was as far away from either Constantinople or Nicomedia as one could be while still remaining within a territory under the emperor's control. To judge from the silence of his Bioi on this point, Theophylact was not on Pantelleria when in 806 raiders from Muslim Spain captured sixty monks there; these were ransomed in the following year by the western emperor Charlemagne. The island was still in Byzantine hands in 835 but probably fell to Muslims from Ifriqiyah not long afterward.
In the Roman Martyrology Theophylact is called Theophilus. Prior to its revision of 2001, when he was moved to today (his feast day in the Synaxary of Constantinople and in its modern descendants in Byzantine-rite churches), he was commemorated there under 7. March.
Some period-pertinent images of St. Theophylact of Nicomedia:
a) as depicted (at right) in a detail of the overview of the saints of the March calendar in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. ca. 1312 and 1321/1322) in the monastery church of the Theotokos at Gračanica in, depending upon one's view of the matter, either Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo:
b) as depicted in a separate image in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. ca. 1312 and 1321/1322) in the the nave of the monastery church of the Theotokos at Gračanica in, depending upon one's view of the matter, either Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo:
c) as depicted (at lower right in the panel at lower right) in an earlier fourteenth-century pictorial menologion from Thessaloniki (betw. 1322 and 1340; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gr. th. f. 1, fol. 30v):
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