St. Maximus the Confessor, Abbot of the Chrysopolis
Ascetic and defender of Nicene Christianity, St. Maximus was born c. 580
into a noble family at Constantinople. A student of philosophy and
he served as imperial secretary to Heraclius until c. 614, when Maximus
became a monk. During a Persian invasion in 626, he travelled first to
Alexandria, then to Carthage, where he debated Pyrrhus, a monothelite.
A number of African synods condemned Maximus for his insistence that
Christ had a divine will and a human will, and Martin I invited
Maximus to participate in the Lateran synod of 649. Four years
later, he was arrested and tried at his birthplace for his refusal
to adhere to the Typos of Constans II, which forbade the discussion
of Christ's will or wills. Maximus was tortured and exile to Shemarum
on the Black Sea, where he died of his injuries.
Maximus preaches that Christ's Incarnation is the purpose of history
because it restores the equilibrium destroyed by Adam's fall. If Christ
is not fully God and fully man, argues Maximus, salvation is void.
Maximus is the author of Four Centuries of Love, about asceticism
charity in daily life; Ambigua about the writings of Sts. Gregory
the Theologian; and Mystagogia about the
nature of the church. Maximus also commented on the works of Dionysios the
and on the Scriptures.
Karen Rae Keck
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