Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries


How Efthymios the Great brought Queen Evdokia back from the Antichalcedonians

ISSUES 12-13

The blessed Evdokia had been misled by Theodosius and had followed his beliefs, which is why she left the ecclesiastic communion of the universal Orthodox Church.  She even did her best so that the "Seceders" would prevail and be organized, and she also struggled against all the Orthodox.  It was because of this, that all the monks of the holy city and of the desert of Jerusalem had followed that apostasy, even though Theodosius had been prosecuted and Juvenalius was on the throne.

Well, she had received a great number of letters from her brother Valerius and from her daughter's husband to distance herself from the heresy of the Eutychianists and side with the faith of the Orthodox Church.  This was especially stressed by them, also because of the terrible events that had taken place in her family: the assassination of her son-in-law in Rome and later the capture of her daughter and her grandchildren in Africa.  But she was worried and hesitant and did not want to violate her conscience on account of her relatives and betray the upright (as she believed) faith of hers.  That was why she thought of communicating with god-bearing Fathers and from them learn the upright faith properly.  To this end, she sent the very virtuous local bishop Anastasios - along with several others - to Antioch, to Saint Simeon the Stylite, who was famous all over the world and who glowed with the virtues he had.  Having written her thoughts on the matter of the upright faith, she beseeched him for his God-pleasing opinion.  Saint Simeon replied to her as follows:

"Be aware that the devil, upon seeing the bounty of your virtues, has sought to winnow you like wheat. As for that Theodosius, the corrupter of the upright faith, who became the vessel and the instrument of the wily one, he has blurred your mind and unsettled your soul, which loves and is loved by God.  However, I was puzzled by this thing:  Although you have the well-spring near you, you ignore it, and you run such a long distance to draw spiritual water...  Now then, close by you is the God-bearing Efthymios. Follow his teachings and admonitions, and you will be saved."

After hearing this, the blessed Evdokia did not show any negligence whatsoever.  First of all, she found out that Efthymios the Great does not concede to go to any city; so she went to the highest place in the eastern desert, about thirty stadia (about 5500 metres) south of the Saint's Lavra (monastery) and there built a turret, because she wished to enjoy the saint's teachings more often, from that place.  She furthermore sent Kosmas the Cross Guardian and Anastasios the local bishop to seek him out.  They went to the Lavra, but did not find him there.  Having learnt that he was at Rouva, they took the blessed Theoktistos along with them, and set off to meet him there. And, having begged him at length and in many words, they convinced him and brought him to Evdokia, to the turret she had built and is now the place where the Monastery of Scholarios was founded.

When Evdokia saw Saint Efthymios, she was overwhelmed with joy.  She ran up to him, prostrated herself before him and said: "Now I know that God has visited me, the unworthy one, with your presence." 

And the holy Elder, after giving his blessing, said the following to her:  "Look after yourself, my child, from now on.  The fact that you had become misled and followed the cunning beliefs of Theodosius, means that you were influenced by the evil and disastrous events of Italy. Move away from the cacodoxy. And, just as you accept the faith of the three Ecumenical Councils - of Nicaea, which had convened against Arius, of Constantinople, which had convened against Macedonius, and of Ephesus, against Nestorius, so you should accept the Oros (clause) proclaimed by the Council that convened in Chalcedon.  After you distance yourself from Dioscorus' communication, align yourself on the side of the Archibishop of Jerusalem, Juvenalius, and seek ecclesiastic communion with him"

Having said these things and prayed for her and given her various counsels, he departed.  She had a great admiration for the saint's virtue. And everything that he had told her, she went and enforced it, immediately and in practice, with an awareness that she had heard it from the mouth of God.  She immediately went to Jerusalem and through the ambassadors Kosmas and Anastasios, contacted the Archibishop and aligned herself to the faith of the Orthodox Church, thus also regaining ecclesiastic communion.

Her example was followed by many others - a multitude of laypeople and monks - all who had been misled by Theodosius1.


1"Blooms of the Desert No.3 -Bios and Polity of our blessed father Efthymios the Great", by Cyril of Skythopolis, "ZYME" Publications, p.87-91

Translation:  K.N.

Article published in English on: 3-8-2013.

Last update: 3-8-2013.