Commemorating St. Photius

On February 6th, our Byzantine Catholic calendar commemorates our Holy Father Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople. St. Photius is one who may raise eyebrows for even being on a Catholic calendar, let alone being called a Saint, for he opposed the filioque directly to his Roman Catholic contemporaries, was involved in some deep disputes between East and West, and more. There is so much that could be said about his being commemorated in the typikon of Eastern Catholics, as it relates to our past/birth of being Orthodox who entered into communion with Rome at a point in history that is after St. Photius, and as it relates to our current way of life, not to mention implications for a hoped for future reunion between all Orthodox and Catholics.

Nevertheless, here are some questions that I’d like to pose for reflection and prayer for deeper Christian unity.

How will a reunited East and West deal with saints who disparaged those “on the other side”?

Can we see that those who did disparage one another did so out of a love for Truth, and not out of a hatred of any person or formulation on the “other side”?

Can Eastern Catholics truly be a model for a future reunion?

Will this modeling be embraced by the “Latin Lung” of the Catholic Church, or will such devotion to men and women such as St. Photius be a perennial thorn in the side?

When will we see that God’s love is bigger than our own shortcomings?

I’m sure that more questions can be asked, and that better answers can be given by more skilled souls, but these thoughts come to my mind as the day winds down.

Through the prayers of our holy fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us!


  1. Each year I try to make a pilgrimage to his shrine in Florida . The shrine has alot of personal meaning for me because the experinces that i had there led me into the Byzantine tradition. At the shrine there is an icon of the saint and the great apostles to the Slavs. I think it is wholly proper to venerate him do to the fact of influence he had in the foundation of our Slavic churches.

  2. Fitting questions to ask.
    I find Photius an enigmatic figure. I once spoke at length with a Greek Orthodox man about the faith and he gave me a book on Photius. I got through most of it but lost interest and couldn’t help thinking how like Martin Luther he was. Obedience and humility were lacking in my opinion.
    I know that the breach between us does not please Our Lord. We need each other. I pray that we can leave our selves aside in the search for the Truth.

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