Christian Orthodox Philanthropic Society of Friends
of the Holy Monastery of Pantokrator in the area of Melissochori “Saint Gregory Palamas”
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Emperor Herakleos & The Precious Cross - THE AKATHIST HYMN

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Emperor Herakleos & The Precious Cross



Size: 13X20.5
Pages: 104
ISBN: 978-618-84529-5-4 

First Edition 2024


Publication and Central Distribution:
© Christian Orthodox Philanthropic Society
of Friends of the Holy Monastery of Pantokrator
at Melissohori “Saint Gregory Palamas”

By the Reposed († 19-12-2019)
Protopresbyter Fr. George D. Metallinos,
Professor of the Athens University

Beloved in Christ, Mr.Chairman,

I thank you for the honorary dispatch to my humbleness of the manuscript regarding the Emperor Herakleos, and more so, for asking me to give my opinion on it.

I was very moved by your decision to publish a study on this great emperor of ours, who had become very dear to me as early as my student years for his patriotism and heroism. Herakleos belongs among the major Emperors of Romanity. That is why you have rightly included in the title of the book: 'Emperor Herakleos of the Romans', which reveals the author’s solid historical knowledge and sensitivity.

With the founding of New Rome (inaugurated on the 11th of May 330 AD) by Constantine the Great (and our Saint) began the historical life of our Empire, which, during the 6th and the 7th centuries, under the emperors Justinian (518-565) and Herakleos (610-641) was fully Hellenized.

The empire’s name was never “Byzantium”, nor were its citizens called “Byzantines”. The empire of New Rome was named ROMANIA as of the 4th century (ref. Saint Athanasius the Great) and its citizens were called Romans (=of New Rome, that is, Neo-Romans) and in common usage were called “Romioi”. This of course does not imply that we are denying the Hellenicity of ancient Byzantium; but we are obliged to remain faithful to History. After all, Ancient Rome (of Italy) was also founded by Greeks, after the Trojan events – hence the reason in the 4th century BC that Heraclides the Pontic (=of Pontus) called it a Hellenic city («πόλιν ἑλληνίδα»). The Greek Language and Greek culture were the connecting elements of the Peoples of the Empire, its main and basic population element being Greeks by origin, with the all-uniting force being Christian Orthodoxy.

The Roman/Greek-Orthodox King and Emperor Herakleos proved with his works and his struggles to be very pious and very faithful. That is why our Lord and King Jesus Christ desired that he be linked to the Holy Cross and its re-acquisition. More than

Instead of a anything, this is what ensured Herakleos’ prominent position in the History of our Empire – which he rightfully deserves.

This study reveals an authoring capability and a very good knowledge in the use of Sources and Bibliography, and I hope that its reception by our reading public will be analogous. I wish you and your Association a blessed continuation in your endeavours.

With honor and blessings in the Lord,
† Fr. George D. Metallinos
Former Professor Emeritus
of the Athens University

By the Reposed († 11-12-2021)
Abbot Archimandrite Kyrillos

It has been written: “A people that forgets its history cannot possibly build its future properly.” Even more so, when its History is a glorious, brilliant, instructive one for all peoples - and very obviously unique - like the History of the Hellenic peoples.

Unfortunately, the spiritual decline of our time, as a result of the relentless war against the values that elevate man - along with the hedonistic and materialistic modern lifestyle being projected from every other source - has succeeded in rendering modern-day Hellenes un-historical (to say the least, and not label them as ignorant or even indifferent towards the glorious History of their ancestors).

The most vehement discredit and polemic is being meted out in our days on the glorious period of the Greek Orthodox Roman Empire (referred to in our times as “Byzantine Empire”), during which period the entire ancient Hellenic civilization became interwoven with the Orthodox faith in Christ, and was ranked and exalted in a particularly spiritual way, making it impossible for someone to connect to the genuine, ancient Hellenic spirit by ignoring this millennium-plus Historical period.

We glorify the Holy Triune God, because recent scientific historical studies have been multiplying and are awakening consciences, by revealing the truth of events and silencing the falsifiers of History.

We praise our Almighty Lord, Who has made us worthy of holding such an important study in our hand, and patristically bless its publishers, the Philanthropic Association of Friends of our Monastery 'Saint Gregory Palamas' for the work titled: 'Emperor Herakleos of the Romans', for which we also wholeheartedly express our congratulations to all those who labored for it.

The present historical study, which had seen the light of publicity initially on the website of our Monastery, written in a simple, descriptive manner, has attracted the interest of readers by offering genuinely spiritual nourishment drawn solely from pertinent sources with details on those events.

Apart from the more general contribution to the existing void that we pointed out, the preoccupation with the person of the great Emperor Herakleos was to highlight an outstanding example of a leader; an example that is useful to be studied by rulers as well as by the ruled. The assumption of power by Herakleos at a critical turning point of the Empire highlights the man's ability even more, since he pulled the State out of a crisis and delivered it intact and glorious. Also, the aftermath of these historical moments - the decline and the glorious resurgence - ensures extreme hopes against the tyrannical situation of the general crisis that is plaguing our country in these times - as well as the rest of the world.

Of course, what is widely known and identifies with the personality of Herakleos are the victorious campaigns against the Persians (who for long periods of time preyed on the territories of the Empire), which resulted in the liberation of the Holy Lands and the recovery of the most important holy relic of our Faith: the Holy and Life-giving Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, thus rendering his campaigns the only genuine and guileless 'Crusades'.

However, the point that must be emphasized – made evident by the manifestations of Herakleos’ personality and intensely underlined by the author - was his deep faith in God and his genuine piety for the Holy Orthodox Church. From the very beginning, he steadfastly participated in the ecclesiastic life and worship, and respected in practice the institutions and the persons within the ecclesiastic structure. This piety of his - regardless of whichever of his mistakes - combined with the simplicity of the way he treated his subjects, were the elements that miraculously elevated him to the heights of a distinguished leader, who was crowned with the honour of his people’s love and the blessings of the Triune God.

In conclusion, along with our warm thanks to all those who contributed towards this significant edition, we must also relay our heartfelt thanks to the recently departed Protopresbyter and Professor Fr. Georgios D. Metallinos, a beloved and respected brother, who reviewed this work and sent us his complimentary testimonial on it.

We pray for the enlightenment of all well-meaning scholars, and extend every blessing, progress and increment in the work of material and spiritual philanthropy to the Association 'Saint Gregory Palamas'.

With wishes and love in Christ,
The Abbot of the Sacred Retreat
of Pantocrator of Melissochori
† Archimandrite Kyrillos
and my in-Christ brothers with me

Prologue to the Greek Edition By the Reposed († 11-12-2021) Abbot Archimandrite Kyrillos     v 
In lieu of a Prologue to the Greek Edition     IX 
Prologue   1
The political situation of Byzantium/ Romania prior to Herakleos’ time 3
Fiscal administrating policy and demographics 9
Herakleos – The Revolt and the first years of his reign 13
The first years of governance and the attempts for reconstitution 21
The war fronts 29
The miraculous deliverance of Thessaloniki by Saint Demetrius 33
Preparations 47
The counterattack campaign against the Persians – Phase 1 53
The counterattack campaign against the Persians – Phase 2 59
The Siege of Constantinople 67
The Theotokos’ victory over the barbarians 73
Operations in the Caucasus 83
The invasion in Mesopotamia 87
The implementation of the Treaty 95

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