Righteous Philaretos the Merciful
Saint Philaretos was born in Paphlagonia to Christian parents and was raised in piety and the fear of God. He married a wife, Theoseba, and together formed a rich and illustrious family with a son and two daughters. Being a rich dignitary, Philaretos did not hoard his wealth. He often recalled the words of Christ about the Last Judgment and loving the least of brethren, and so devoted his life on giving to the poor. Even during an Arab attack where Philaretos was left with only a few cattle and a beehive, he still gave what he had to the poor. His wife and children often reproached him for his supposed heartless generosity, however he constantly comforted them that he had hidden away riches and treasure for them, enough to live a hundred years without work. Anything that the saint gave away, the recipient often found that the good would multiply and they would become rich. Knowing of this, a certain man asked Saint Philaretos for a calf so he could start a heard. The cow missed its calf and began to bellow. Philaretos’ wife reproached her husband for having no pity on the cow, and so he gave the cow to the man as well. She sarcastically said he might as well give him all their wheat, and even a donkey to carry the goods, and so he did this too. The Lord, however, rewarded Philaretos for his generosity. When he gave his last portion of wheat away, a friend of his delivered forty bushels of wheat. Theoseba and the children kept most for themselves, and gave a small portion to Philaretos, who gave this away and remained hungry himself. The saint always reminded his family that he had stored a hidden treasure for them. During this time, the Empress Irene’s son, Constantine Porphyrogenitos, was seeking a wife, and after much looking, he found Philaretos’ granddaughter, Maria. The Emperor rewarded Philaretos with many riches and banquets, however, he gave this all away to the poor. Thus, the saint lived his life in charity and self-abnegation. He felt his end approaching, and asked the Abbess of the nearby monastery if he could be buried there, and she agreed. Ten days later, he called his family and exhorted them to imitate his love for the poor if they desired salvation. With these words, gave up his philanthropic soul to the Lord.
Ἦχος γ’. Θείας πίστεως.
Θείας πίστεως περιουσίᾳ, διεσκόρπισας τοῖς δεομένοις τὸν προσιόντα σοι πλοῦτον, Φιλάρετε· καὶ εὐσπλαχνίᾳ κοσμήσας τὸν βίον σου, τὸν χορηγὸν τοῦ ἐλέους ἐδόξασας· Ὃν ἱκέτευε δοθῆναι τοῖς εὐφημοῦσι σε ῥανίδα οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ θεῖον ἔλεος.
Ἦχος γ’. Ἡ Παρθένος σήμερον.
Τοῦ Ἰὼβ κτησάμενος, ἐν πειρασμοῖς τὴν ἀνδρείαν, τοῖς πτωχοῖς διένειμας, ὡς συμπαθὴς τὸν σὸν πλοῦτον· ὤφθης γὰρ, τῆς εὐσπλαγχνίας ἔμψυχος βρύσις, νάμασι, τῶν θείων τρόπων σου ἱλαρύνων, τοὺς ἐκ πόθου σοι βοῶντας· χαίροις θεράπον Χριστοῦ Φιλάρετε.
Χαίροις τῶν πενήτων ὁ προμηθεύς, καὶ τῶν δυστυχούντων, ἀντιλήπτωρ καὶ βοηθός· χαίροις ὁ ἐν οἴκτῳ, τὸν Λόγον θεραπεύσας, Φιλάρετε τρισμάκαρ, Δικαίων σύσκηνε.
Troparion — Tone 3
From the wealth of your faith in God, / You distributed your riches to the poor, O Philaret. / Your life was adorned with compassion / And you glorified the Giver of mercy. / Implore him to have compassion and mercy on those who praise you!
Kontakion — Tone 3
You possessed the spirit of Job in temptations, / And compassionately distributed your wealth to the poor. / You were a living fountain of almsgiving, / And by your manner of life you gladden those who cry: / Rejoice, O Philaret, servant of Christ God!