Flavian was elected Patriarch of Constantinople in 447. His short episcopate of two years was a time of conflict and persecution from the beginning. Chrysaphius, the emperor’s favorite, tried to extort a large sum of money from him on the occasion of his consecration. His fidelity in refusing brought on him the enmity of the most powerful man in the empire.
More trouble soon arose. In 448, Flavian had to condemn the rising heresy of the monk Eutyches, who obstinately denied that Our Lord was in two perfect natures after His Incarnation. Eutyches drew to his cause all the bad elements which so early gathered about the Byzantine court. His intrigues were long-baffled by the vigilance of Flavian; but at last he obtained from the emperor the assembly of a council at Ephesus, in August 449, presided over by his friend Dioscorus, Patriarch of Alexandria. Into this “robber council” he entered, surrounded by soldiers. The Roman legates could not even read the Pope’s letters; and at the first sign of resistance, fresh troops entered with drawn swords and terrified most of the bishops into acquiescence.
The fury of Dioscorus reached its height when St. Flavian appealed to the Holy See. St. Flavian was set upon by Dioscorus and others, thrown down, beaten, kicked, and finally carried into banishment. St. Flavian was martyred by Dioscorus and the Eutychian heretics. Miracles following his death attest to St. Flavian’s sanctity and the work of the Holy Spirit.