June 12 - The Venerable Isaac of Dalmatia

"Open the churches to the Orthodox, and the Lord will help you. . . ."

At the time when the Arian heretics were trampling on Christianity, closing and destroying churches, the ascetic Isaac lived far out in the desert. When he heard of the great troubles of the Christians, he left his solitary home and set off for Constantinople, in order to comfort and strengthen the Orthodox people.

But then another misfortune occurred: a large army of barbarian Goths came to attack Constantinople. When the emperor came out of the city gates to fight, the venerable Isaac, not fearing his anger, spoke to Valens with these words:

"Emperor, open the churches to the Orthodox, and the Lord will help you."

But the emperor remained self-confident and deaf to the elder's words. The unyielding words of the elder only made him angry, and Valens ordered Isaac to be locked in prison until his victorious return.

However, the saint's prophecy came to pass. The emperor and his Arian general were burned. When the people learned of this, they freed Isaac, whom they began to honor as God's prophet.

The new emperor, St. Theodosius the Great, greatly respected Isaac, and — fulfilling his instructions — he drove the Arians out of Constantinople, and returned the churches to the Orthodox. 

When Isaac wanted to return to the desert, they begged him to stay in the city, so that the holy elder could benefit Constantinople with his prayers against troubles and misfortunes.

They built him a place to stay, monks were attracted to him, and a monastery arose. Isaac became its abbot, and the spiritual director for the monks. Before he died, he gave the direction of the monastery over to the venerable Dalmatius, by whose name the monastery began to be called.

The Venerable Isaac died in deep old age, in the three hundred eighty third year from the Birth of Christ. He left behind him many good works and writings, for which, even now, the Orthodox people send up grateful prayers to the saint.

The twelfth of June is the feast day of the Venerable Isaac of Dalmatia.

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