St. Theophanes was born in Greece around the year 759. His parents died when he was young, but left him with a large inheritance. Theophanes’ guardian coerced him into marriage when he was a young man, but he and his wife vowed to live celibately. After many years of living together, his wife joined a religious community, and Theophanes became a hermit.

Theophanes was well-known for his holiness and wisdom. He used his inheritance to form two monasteries for the men who sought his advice, becoming abbot of one.

While living at the monastery, Theophanes began writing a history of the Christian world, beginning with the end of the Diocletian persecution through the early ninth century. This effort earned him the nickname “The Chronicler.”

At that time, the iconoclast heresy was causing problems for the Church. The emperor of Constantinople encouraged the destruction of icons and tried to sway Theophanes to his side, but Theophanes remained loyal to Rome and the Church. Eventually, he was arrested and died in prison around the year 818.