Theophylact was from the East; his native city is unknown. In Constantinople he became a close friend of Tarsius, who afterwards became Patriarch of Constantinople (see Feb. 25).Theophylact was made Bishop of Nicomedia. After the death of Saint Tarsius, his successor Nicephorus (see June 2) called together a number of Bishops to help him in fighting the iconoclasm of Emperor Leo the Armenian, who reigned from 813-820.
Among them was Euthymius, Bishop of Sardis (celebrated Dec. 26), who had attended the holy Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787 – he was exiled three times for the sake of the holy icons, and for defying the Emperor Theophilus’ command to renounce the veneration of the icons, was scourged from head to foot until his whole body was one great wound, from which he died eight days later, about the year 830; Joseph of Thessalonica (see July 14); Michael of Synnada (see May 23); Emilian, Bishop of Cyzicus (see Aug. 8); and Saint Theophylact, who boldly rebuked Leo to his face, telling him that because he despised the long-suffering of God, utter destruction was about to overtake him, and there would be none to deliver him.
For this, Theophylact was exiled to the fortress of Strobilus in Karia of Asia Minor, where, after 30 years of imprisonment and hardship, he gave up his holy soul about the year 845. Leo the Armenian, according to the Saint’s prophecy, was slain in church on the eve of our Lord’s Nativity, in 820.
When the emperor’s advisor Tarasius, a layman, was elected Patriarch of Constantinople, then many of his friends, admirers, and other laymen received the monastic tonsure either with him or by him. Among them was Theophylactus. Tarasius appointed him Bishop of Nicomedia.
As a bishop, Theophylactus was a good shepherd to his entrusted flock and proved to be exceptionally compassionate toward the less fortunate and indigent. After the death of St. Tarasius, the patriarchal throne was occupied by Nicephorus. Shortly after that, the imperial throne was occupied by Leo the Armenian, an iconoclast. As such, he raised up an absolute storm in the Church of Christ.
Even though iconoclasm had been anathematized by the Seventh Ecumenical Council [Nicaea, 787 A.D.], nevertheless, Emperor Leo reinstated it and wanted thereby to supplant Orthodoxy. St. Theophylactus opposed the emperor to his face. When the emperor would not yield, Theophylactus said to him: “O Emperor, great ruin will unexpectedly befall you, and you will find no one to deliver you from it.” Because of these words and by the order of the emperor, Theophylactus was removed from his see and sent into exile. There he spent thirty years undergoing many hardships and insults, and in the end he rendered his soul to the Lord in about the year 845 A.D.
Apolytikion of Theophylact , Bp. of Nicomedea
Plagal of the Second Tone
Thou didst live a life hidden in God, O all-famed Theophylact, but Christ revealed thee unto all as a shining light set upon the spiritual lampstand, and He placed in thy hands the tablets of the Spirit’s doctrines; whereby do thou enlighten us.