Saints of the Day – Joannicius of Mount Olympus, Hermit

detail of a Greek Orthodox icon of Saint Joannicus of Mount Olympus; date unknown, author unknown; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Born at Bithynia, c.754; died at Antidium, 846; feast day formerly on February 4.

For 20 years Joannicius was a soldier in the Byzantine army, seeing active service against the Bulgars. Repenting of his disorderly ways, he left the service at 40 and became a monk and then a hermit on the Bithynian Olympus. Popular veneration, however, drove him from solitude to solitude.

While at the monastery near Brusa the second iconoclast controversy began in 818; Joannicius, who had formerly favored the iconoclasts, now showed himself a vigorous opponent of them.

He was greatly respected among the prophetical figures of his time, and both Saint Theodore the Studite and Saint Methodius of Constantinople consulted him. He counselled moderation in their treatment of iconoclasts – unusual enough advice from a monk in that struggle.

Saint Joannicius was over 90 when he died at the monastery of Antidium (Attwater). He is highly venerated among the Greeks (Attwater, Benedictines).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 August 2020. Web. 18 September 2020. <>