PATRISTICS/ Maximus the Confessor
Maximus the Confessor (also known as Maximus the Theologian and Maximus of Constantinople) (c. 580 - 13 August 662) was a Christian monk, theologian, and scholar. In his early life, he was a civil servant, and an aide to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius. However, he gave up this life in the political sphere to enter into the monastic life.
After moving to Carthage, Maximus studied several Neo-Platonist writers and became a prominent author. When one of his friends began espousing the Christological position known as Monothelitism, Maximus was drawn into the controversy, in which he supported the Chalcedonian position that Jesus had both a human and a divine will. Maximus is venerated in both Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity. His Christological positions eventually resulted in his torture and exile, soon after which he died. However, his theology was vindicated by the Third Council of Constantinople and he was venerated as a saint soon after his death. His feast day is celebrated twice during the year: on 13 August and 21 January. His title of Confessor means that he suffered for the Christian faith, but was not directly martyred. His Life of the Virgin is thought to be the earliest complete biography of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Very little is known about the details of Maximus' life prior to his involvement in the theological and political conflicts of the Monothelite controversy. Maximus was most likely born in Constantinople even though a biography written by his Maronite opponents has him born in Palestine. His position as the personal secretary to Heraclius has been taken as an indication that Maximus was born into Byzantine nobility. For reasons unknown, Maximus left public life and took monastic vows at the monastery of Philippicus in Chrysopolis, a city across the Bosporus from Constantinople (later known as Scutari, the modern Turkish city of Üsküdar).Maximus was elevated to the position of abbot of the monastery. "Theology without practice is the theology of demons". (Most famous quote)
When the Sassanid Empire conquered Anatolia, Maximus was forced to flee to a monastery near Carthage. It was there that he came under the tutelage of Saint Sophronius, and began studying the Christological writings of Gregory of Nazianzus and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. It was also during his stay in Carthage that Maximus began his career as a theological and spiritual writer. Maximus was also held in very high esteem by the exarch and the population as a holy man, ostensibly becoming an influential unofficial political advisor and spiritual head in North Africa.
Along with Pope Martin I, Maximus was vindicated by the Third Council of Constantinople (the Sixth Ecumenical Council, 680¿681), which declared that Christ possessed both a human and a divine will. With this declaration Monothelitism became heresy, and Maximus was posthumously declared innocent of all charges against him.
Maximus is among those Christians who were venerated as saints shortly after their deaths. The vindication of Maximus' theological position made him extremely popular within a generation after his death, and his cause was aided by the accounts of miracles at his tomb. In the Roman Catholic Church the veneration of Maximus began prior to the foundation of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.