Saint Theophanes of Nicaea

Also known as

  • one of the Grapti from the Greek graptoi = “written upon”
  • Theophanes the Hymnographer
  • Theophan…



Son of Venerable Jonah the Presbyter. Brother of Saint Theodorus. Grew up in Jerusalem as a pious youth, but little is known of his early life. Monk at Saint Sabas’ laura in Jerusalem. Known for his intelligence and fidelity to their rule.

Priest. Strong defender of sacred images during the time of the inconoclasts. Persecuted for their beliefs by Byzantine iconoclast Emperor Leo V the Armenian beginning c.813, including exile with his brother Theodorus to a barren island in the Black Sea.

After the emperor’s death, the brothers returned to the monastery in 820. They were tortured and banished again in 829 when the iconoclast emperor Theophilus came to power. Recalled to Constantinople in 831, they were offered the chance to discuss matters with the iconoclasts and change their minds. They refused, and their tormenters took two days to cut a 12-line iambic verse into their foreheads. They were then tortured and banished to Apamea, Bithynia.

Theophanes lived to see the resolution Iconoclast controversy in 842. Archbishop of Nicaea from 842 until his death. He wrote a many religious poems and hymns, including one on his brother.


  • c.775 at Kerak, Moab (Trans-Jordan)




These men have appeared at Jerusalem as vessels full of the iniquity of superstitious error, and were driven thence for their crimes. Having fled to Constantinople, they forsook not their impiety. Wherefore they have been banished from thence and thus stigmatized on their faces. – translation of the verse cut into the forehead of Saint Theophanes

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Theophanes of Nicaea“. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 December 2016. Web. 28 March 2020. <>