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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : MON. FEB. 25, 2013 - SHARE


VATICAN : NEW RULES FOR CONCLAVE - MOTU PROPIO

TODAY'S SAINT : FEB. 25 : ST. TARASIUS PATRIARCH

Vatican Radio/VIS REPORT – In an unofficial translation of the Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio by Holy Father Benedict XVI and dated 22 February, following are a few amendments concerning the election of the Roman Pontiff.

“With the Apostolic Letter 'De aliquibus mutationibus in normis de electione Romani Ponteficis' given as a Motu Proprio in Rome on 11 June 2007 in the third year of my pontificate, I established some norms that, rescinding those prescribed in no. 75 of the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Dominici Gregis' promulgated by my predecessor Blessed John Paul II, have re-established the regulation, sanctioned by tradition, according to which a two thirds majority of the votes of the Cardinal electors present is always required for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff.”
“Considering the importance of ensuring the best implementation of what is concerned, albeit with a different significance, regarding the election of the Roman Pontiff, in particular a more certain interpretation and execution of some provisions, I establish and prescribe that some norms of the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Dominici Gregis', as well as what I myself set forth in the above-mentioned Apostolic Letter, be replaced with the following norms:
35. “No Cardinal elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election of the Supreme Pontiff, for any reason or pretext, with due regard for the provisions of No. 40 and No. 75 of this Constitution.”
37. “I furthermore decree that, from the moment when the Apostolic See is lawfully vacant, the Cardinal electors who are present must wait fifteen full days for those who are absent before beginning the Conclave; however, the College of Cardinals is also granted the faculty to anticipated the beginning of the Conclave if all the Cardinal electors are present as well as the faculty to defer, for serious reasons, the beginning of the election for a few days more. But when a maximum of twenty days have elapsed from the beginning of the vacancy of the See, all the Cardinal electors present are obliged to proceed to the election.”
43. “From the beginning of the electoral process until the public announcement that the election of the Supreme Pontiff has taken place, or in any case until the new Pope so disposes, the rooms of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, and in particular the Sistine Chapel and the areas reserved for liturgical celebrations are to be closed to unauthorized persons, by the authority of the Cardinal Camerlengo and with the outside assistance of the Vice Camerlengo and the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, in accordance with the provisions set forth in the following Numbers.”
“During this period, the entire territory of Vatican City and the ordinary activity of the offices located therein shall be regulated, for the period mentioned, in a way that ensures the confidentiality and the free development of all the undertakings connected with the election of the Supreme Pontiff. In particular, provision shall be made, with the help of the Cleric Prelates of the Chamber to ensure that no one approaches the Cardinal electors while they are being transported from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Apostolic Vatican Palace.”
46, 1. “In order to meet the personal and official needs connected with the election process, the following individuals must be available and therefore properly lodged in suitable areas within the confines mentioned in No. 43 of this Constitution: the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, who acts as Secretary of the electoral assembly; the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations with eight Masters of Ceremonies and two Religious attached to the Papal Sacristy; and an ecclesiastic chosen by the Cardinal Dean or by the Cardinal taking his place, in order to assist him in his duties.”
47. “All the persons listed in No. 46 and No. 55, 2 of this Constitution who in any way or at any time should come to learn anything from any source, directly or indirectly, regarding the election process, and in particular regarding the voting which took place in the election itself, are obliged to maintain strict secrecy with all persons extraneous to the College of Cardinal electors: accordingly, before the election begins, they shall take an oath in the form and using the formula indicated in No. 48.”
48. “The persons listed in No. 46 and No. 55, 2 of this Constitution, having been duly warned about the meaning and extent of the oath that they are to take, before the start of the election process, shall, in the presence of the Cardinal Camerlengo or another Cardinal delegated by him, and in the presence of two numerary participant Apostolic Protonotaries, in due course swear and sign the oath according to the following formula:”
“I, N.N., promise and swear that, unless I should receive a special faculty given expressly by the newly-elected Pontiff or by his successors, I will observe absolute and perpetual secrecy with all who are not part of the College of Cardinal electors concerning all matters directly or indirectly related to the ballots cast and their scrutiny for the election of the Supreme Pontiff.”
“I likewise promise and swear to refrain from using any audio or video equipment capable of recording anything which takes place during the period of the election within Vatican City, and in particular anything which in any way, directly or indirectly, is related to the process of the election itself.”
“I declare that I take this oath fully aware that an infraction thereof will make me subject to the penalty of excommunication 'latae sententiae', which is reserved to the Apostolic See."
“So help me God and these Holy Gospels, which I touch with my hand.”
49. “When the funeral rites for the deceased Pope have been celebrated according to the prescribed ritual, and everything necessary for the regular functioning of the election has been prepared, on the appointed day of the beginning of the Conclave established in conformity with the provisions of No. 37 of the present Constitution, the Cardinal electors shall meet in the Basilica of Saint Peter's in the Vatican, or elsewhere, should circumstances warrant it, in order to take part in a solemn Eucharistic celebration with the Votive Mass 'Pro Eligendo Papa'. This celebration should preferably take place at a suitable hour in the morning, so that in the afternoon the prescriptions of the following Numbers of this Constitution can be carried out.”
50. From the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where they will assemble at a suitable hour in the afternoon, the Cardinal electors, in choir dress and invoking the assistance of the Holy Spirit with the chant of the 'Veni Creator', will solemnly process to the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where the election will be held. The Vice Camerlengo, the General Auditor of the Apostolic Camera, and two members of each of the colleges of numerary participant Apostolic Protonotaries, Prelate Auditors of the Roman Rota, and Cleric Prelates of the Chamber will participate in the procession.
51, 2. “It will therefore be the responsibility of the College of Cardinals, operating under the authority and responsibility of the Camerlengo, assisted by the Particular Congregation mentioned in No. 7 of the present Constitution, and with the outside assistance of the Vice Camerlengo and the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, to make all prior arrangements for the interior of the Sistine Chapel and adjacent areas to be prepared, so that an orderly election and its privacy will be ensured.”
55, 3. “Should any infraction whatsoever of this norm occur, those responsible should know that they will be subject to the penalty of excommunication 'latae sententiae', which is reserved to the Apostolic See."
62. “Since the forms of election known as 'per acclamationem seu inspirationem' and 'per compromissum' are abolished, the form of electing the Roman Pontiff shall henceforth be 'per scrutinium' alone.”
“I therefore decree that, for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff, at least two thirds of the votes are required, calculated on the basis of the total number of electors present and voting.”
64. “The voting process is carried out in three phases. The first phase, which can be called the pre-scrutiny, comprises: 1) the preparation and distribution of the ballot papers by the Masters of Ceremonies—called meanwhile into the Hall together with the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and with the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations—who give at least two or three to each Cardinal elector; 2) the drawing by lot, from among all the Cardinal electors, of three Scrutineers, of three persons charged with collecting the votes of the sick, called for the sake of brevity 'Infirmarii', and of three Revisers; this drawing is carried out in public by the junior Cardinal Deacon, who draws out nine names, one after another, of those who shall carry out these tasks; 3) if, in the drawing of lots for the Scrutineers, 'Infirmarii' and Revisers, there should come out the names of Cardinal electors who because of infirmity or other reasons are unable to carry out these tasks, the names of others who are not impeded are to be drawn in their place. The first three drawn will act as Scrutineers, the second three as 'Infirmarii', and the last three as Revisers.”
70, 2. “The Scrutineers add up all the votes that each individual has received, and if no one has obtained at least two thirds of the votes on that ballot, the Pope has not been elected; if however it turns out that someone has obtained at least two thirds of the votes, the canonically valid election of the Roman Pontiff has taken place.”
75. “If the votes referred to in Nos. 72, 73, and 74 of the above-mentioned Constitution do not result in an election, a day will be dedicated to prayer, reflection, and discussion. In subsequent votes, in accordance with the procedure established in No. 74 of this same Constitution, only the two whose names have received the greatest number of votes in the immediately preceding ballot will have the passive electoral right. There can be no waiving of the requirement that a valid election takes place only by a qualified majority of at least two thirds of the votes of the cardinals who are present and voting. Moreover, in these ballots, the two persons who enjoy the passive electoral right lose their active electoral right.”
“When the election has canonically taken place, the junior Cardinal Deacon summons into the Hall of election the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, and two Masters of Ceremonies. The Cardinal Dean, or the Cardinal who is first in order and seniority, in the name of the whole College of electors, then asks the consent of the one elected in the following words: 'Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?' And, as soon as he has received the consent, he asks him: 'By what name do you wish to be called?' Then the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, acting as notary and having as witnesses the two Masters of Ceremonies, draws up a document certifying acceptance by the new Pope and the name taken by him.”
“This document will enter into force immediately upon its publication in the Osservatore Romano.”
“This I do decree and establish, notwithstanding any instruction to the contrary.”
“Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 22 February in the year 2013, the eighth of my Pontificate.”

SHARED FROM RADIO VATICANA

TURKEY : INTERVIEW WITH PATRIARCH ON POPE'S RESIGNATION

ASIA NEWS REPORT
by NAT da Polis
From the Phanar visit to the ongoing ecumenical journey, fromthe recovery of theological dialogue to focus on the Petrine ministry, according to the tradition of the undivided Church: the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople reaffirms the strong link between his church and the pope, thanking him for his theological insights, culture, tenacity in pursuing the ideal for which Christ prayed that all may be one.


Istanbul (AsiaNews) - A few days after Benedict XVI's decision to step down from the Petrine ministry, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, testifies to his respect for him and his commitment to relations with the Orthodox Churches and to open new fields (a "third phase") of joint collaboration in the defence of minorities, religious freedom, in ecology, and discussion of the Petrine, the "most difficult" topic to be addressed in Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. Here is his interview with AsiaNews.
We all remember the Pope's visit to Istanbul. How significant was that visit?
The visit by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVT to the Ecumenical Patriarchate was a direct response to a personal invitation to attend the festivities of the feast of St. Andrew the "first-called of the Apostles and elder brother of St. Peter, being the Thronal Feast of our Patriarchate on November 30, 2006, which we extended to him upon his election to the Throne of St. Peter. Like his predecessor, the late Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict decided to visit the Phanar as a symbolical gesture of his commitment to ecumenical relations as well as a confirmation of the dialogue of love and truth between our two Sister Churches. Just we were able to procure with the late Pope John Paul II, at the end of Pope Benedict's visit to the Church of Constantinople, we signed a Joint Statement stressing the need to protect minorities, religious freedom, and the natural environment. The visit, therefore, was a sincere and significant renewal of our obligation and responsibility - as leaders of the Christian Churches in both the East and West - to follow and fulfill the commandment of our Lord, immediately prior to His betrayal and passion, that His disciples "may be one."
Can you describe the relationship with Pope Benedict on a personal level?
Our relations with Pope Benedict have been both closely cooperative and deeply constructive. We have followed with great interest and love his ministry as an erudite and prolific professor of theology in Genu any, as an esteemed and loyal bishop of the Petrine tradition, as the traditional Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and now as the venerable spiritual leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. Indeed, several of our current prominent
Orthodox hierarchs throughout the world were privileged to enjoy his lectures and learn from his wisdom. Throughout these years, we have maintained warm and fraternal relations with the present Pope, founded on our common dedication to the unity of our two Churches. For this reason, since his election and enthronement as Pope, we have continued our tradition, which was instituted in the 1960s hetween Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI, of the exchange of formal; annual delegations at the respective patronal feasts of our Churches. In his turn, Pope Benedict generously invited us to deliver the only address by an ecumenical leader during the official celebrations in St. Peter's Square for the 50th Anniversary since the opening of the 2nd Vatican Council last October, 2012.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, former President of the Council for Christian Unity, said that Catholic-Orthodox dialogue has entered its "third phase". How, in your opinion, has Benedict XVI contributed to this progress?
 The theological discussions between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches has been the focus of our love and attention since 1980, when following the period known as "the dialogue of love" (inaugurated by the late Patriarch Athenagoras and Popes John XXITI and Paul VI), the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue was established by our predecessor Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios and Pope Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II. Known as "the dialogue of truth/' this commission has met in planning and plenary sessions, publishing agreed statements on the mystery of the Church, the sacraments of the Church, the vision of unity and the problem of uniatism, ecclesiology and conciliarity, and most recently the role of the bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church. As you might imagine, these are not easy subjects to discuss openly and honestly, especially since centuries that had elapsed from the time our two Churches had last met at the same table for  conversations in the 13th and 15th centuries. Nevertheless, we were convinced that we should persist even throughout the barriers that presented themselves, recognizing that, if we could not yet agree on theological and sacramental union, we could at least agree on our regret for the tragic divisions and hurtful wounds of the past. In this regard, the role of Pope Benedict was substantial and decisive inasmuch as he shared our concern and supported our plea for the restoration of the theological dialogue, which had unfortunately been interrupted in 2000. Thus, in 2006, the members of the Joint International Commission officially resumed dialogue.
Did you ever think that the Theological Commission would one day address the issue of the primacy of Peter? That a document would be approved, and that dialogue on the issue would go ahead?
As we have already mentioned, the development and progress of the theological dialogue was not always without hindrances and challenges. Nevertheless, wc are convinced that genuine and open dialogue, which aims at full and sacramental unity, cannot be achieved without cost. We cannot hope to obey the Lord's commandment to "love one another' and be "one with each other" without a spirit of sacrifice. There can surely be no comfortable or painless way of bearing the cross of Christ. Of course, there has been a purpose and procedure behind the meetings of the plenary sessions and the growing consensus between our two Churches. This is why we commenced with issues such as the Holy Trinity, the Church, and the Eucharist in order that we may advance to issues such as the relationship between our common faith and sacramental communion, as well as the significance and theology of the ordained ministry, especially the role of the bishop. We have always known that the ultimate thorny issue for discussion and deliberation is the role of the papacy in the life of the local, regional, and universal Church.
However, all our essential tenets of faith are vitally interconnected and cannot be isolated in their ecclesiological, canonical, and sacramental importance. It is a blessing, then, that we have persevered over the last two decades of theological dialogue and the previous two decades of fraternal relations between our two Churches. For now we are in a position to break new ground and - in a spirit of humility and love, with a willingness to respect and learn from one another - to grow even closer to the reality that existed in the Church of the first millennium, when we were one body, albeit with many limbs.
Do you think the pan Orthodox Synod that you have been working on for a long time will finally be celebrated? And what it will mean a  further step in ecumenical relations?
As you know, the Orthodox Church is a family of fourteen Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches, ail of them united in faith and sacramental communion while remaining self-governing in their interior life. Within this worldwide communion, as first among equals," the Patriarch of Constantinople enjoys a primacy of responsibility, proposing though not compelling, convening though by always consulting. In this respect, we convoked a Synaxis of First H.ierarchs of the Orthodox Churches - the first time that these hicrarchs had assembled since 1872! - gathering together in Istanbul (1992), on the island of Patmos (1995), in Jerusalem and Istanbul on the occasion of the new millennium (2000), and more recently again in Istanbul (2008). Tt is at such Panorthodox gatherings, that one senses the visible expression of the unity of the individual Orthodox Churches, the tangible manifestation of the catholic conscience of the Church. At the 5th Synaxis, we focused on difficulties that plague Orthodox Christianity worldwide, which may share the same faith and worship but in fact present an image of incomplete unity, as if we were not one Church, but rather a confederation of churches, frequently attributing priority to national interests. In this context, we proposed to advance preparations for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church and to resolve the pending matter of the Orthodox Diaspora, one of the most challenging situations in the Orthodox world. Thus, at our invitation, the Preconciliar Panorthodox Conferences have affirmed their commitment during the second half of the 20th century and activated the agreements during the 1990s of the inter-Orthodox Preparatory Committees regarding the so-called Orthodox diaspora. Moreover, regional Assemblies of Bishops have assembled throughout the world in order to present a unified voice for the Orthodox Church on social and contemporary issues that plague humanity today and as a prelude to the convocation of the Holy and Great Council. It is our fervent prayer and firm hope that all Orthodox Churches will adhere to and embrace the decisions of the Preconciliar Panorthodox Conferences in anticipation of our common vision for the Holy and Great Council.
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

AMERICA : COLOMBIA : EFFORTS FOR PEACE

Agenzia Fides report – “We must all support and defend efforts to promote peace” the national director of Social Pastoral of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Colombia , Mgr. H├ęctor Fabio Henao, told the press. These efforts, the priest said , should be undertaken by both the government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) in order to put an end to the conflict which has raged for half a century .
The press note forwarded to Fides says: "All processes pass through difficult times and situations when the parties involved have to clarify many things, but we must persevere and progress along this path”. 
Mons. Henao referred to the friction which has arisen in peace talks taking place in Cuba (see Fides 20/11/2012), due to recent government statements regarding thousands of hectares of land taken from farmers reportedly by FARC troops. The rebels replied that this accusation could cause peace talks to ‘break down’. Colombian Home Minister, Fernando Carrillo, accused the rebels of interrupting the talks since they continue to kidnap army soldiers and launch attacks on civilians . "It is up to them, the FARC, to break the deadlock in the peace talks by ceasing to kidnap Colombians ", the Minister said. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 25/02/2013)

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2013

EUROPE : SCOTLAND : CARDINAL O'BRIEN RESIGNS

IND. CATH. NEWS REPORT
Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigns | Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigns

Cardinal O'Brien

Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien has resigned as Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh today. The Cardinal had already presented last November his resignation in view of his 75th birthday on 17 March 2013, and it was accepted by the Holy Father with the formula 'nunc pro tunc' (now for later). In a statement the Scottish Media Office said: "Given the imminent Vacant See, the Holy Father has now decided to accept the said resignation definitively."
The resignation comes in the wake of allegations of 'improper behaviour' towards them in the 1980's made by three priests and one former priest in an article published by the Observer on Saturday. Cardinal O'Brien's office yesterday denied the allegations and said he was seeking legal advice.
The news means that the Catholic Church in the UK will be not have a voting representative at the forthcoming Conclave which will choose the next Pope. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor will be attending and taaking part in discussions but he is over the voting age.
Reacting to the acceptance of his resignation, Cardinal O'Brien said: "Approaching the age of seventy-five and at times in indifferent health, I tendered my resignation as Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh to Pope Benedict XVI some months ago. I was happy to know that he accepted my resignation ‘nunc pro tunc’ – (now – but to take effect later) on 13 November 2012. The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, 25 February 2013, and that he will appoint an Apostolic Administrator to govern the Archdiocese in my place until my successor as Archbishop is appointed. In the meantime I will give every assistance to the Apostolic Administrator and to our new Archbishop, once he is appointed, as I prepare to move into retirement.

I have valued the opportunity of serving the people of Scotland and overseas in various ways since becoming a priest. Looking back over my years of ministry: For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended

I thank Pope Benedict XVI for his kindness and courtesy to me and on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Scotland, I wish him a long and happy retirement. I also ask God’s blessing on my brother Cardinals who will soon gather in Rome to elect his successor. I will not join them for this Conclave in person. I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focussed on me – but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his Successor. However, I will pray with them and for them that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, they will make the correct choice for the future good of the Church.

May God who has blessed me so often in my ministry continue to bless and help me in the years which remain for me on earth and may he shower his blessings on all the peoples of Scotland especially those I was privileged to serve in a special way in the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh."
Source: SCMO/ICN
SHARED FROM IND. CATH. NEWS

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : MONDAY FEB. 25, 2013


Luke 6: 36 - 38
36Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
37"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
38give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back."

TODAY'S SAINT : FEB. 25 : ST. TARASIUS PATRIARCH


St. Tarasius
PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE
Feast: February 25


Information:
Feast Day:February 25
Born:
750 at Constantinople 
Died:25 February 806
Tarasius was born about the middle of the eighth century. His parents were both of patrician families. His father, George, was a judge, in great esteem for his well-known justice, and his mother, Eucratia, no less celebrated for her piety. She brought him up in the practice of the most eminent virtues. Above all things, she recommended to him to keep no company but that of  the most virtuous. The young man, by his talents and virtue, gained the esteem of all, and was raised to the greatest honours of the empire, being made consul, and afterwards secretary of state to Emperor Constantine and the Empress Irene, his mother. In the midst of the court, and in its highest honours, surrounded by all that could flatter pride or gratify sensuality, he led a life like that of a religious man.
Leo, the Isaurian, his son, Constantine Copronymus, and his grandson, Leo, surnamed Chazarus, three successive emperors, had established, with all their power, the heresy of the Iconoclasts, or image-breakers, in the East. The Empress Irene, wife to the last, was always privately a Catholic, though an artful, ambitious woman. Her husband dying miserably, in 780, after a five years' reign, and having left his son Constantine, but ten years old, under her guardianship, she so managed the nobility in her favour as to get the regency and whole government of the state into her hands, and put a stop to the persecution of the Catholics. Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople, the third of that name, had been raised to that dignity by the late emperor. Though, contrary to the dictates of his own conscience, he had conformed in some respects to the then reigning heresy; he had, however, several good qualities, and was not only singularly beloved by the people for his charity to the poor, but highly esteemed by the empress and the whole court for his great prudence. Finding himself indisposed, and being touched with remorse for his condescension to the Iconoclasts in the former reign, without communicating his design to any one, he quitted the patriarchal see and put on a religious habit in the Monastery of Florus, in Constantinople. The empress was no sooner informed of it, but taking with her the young emperor, went to the monastery to dissuade a person so useful to her from persisting in such a resolution, but all in vain, for the patriarch assured them, with tears and bitter lamentations, that, in order to repair the scandal he had given, he had taken an unalterable resolution to end his days in that monastery, so desired them to provide the church of Constantinople with a worthy pastor in his room. Being asked whom he thought equal to the charge, he immediately named Tarasius, and dying soon after this declaration, Tarasius was accordingly chosen patriarch by the unanimous consent of the court, clergy, and people. Tarasius finding it in vain to oppose his election] declared, however, that he thought he could not in conscience accept of the government of a see which had been cut off from the catholic communion but upon condition that a general council should be called to compose the disputes which divided the church at that time in relation to holy images. This being agreed to, he was solemnly declared patriarch, and consecrated soon after, on Christmas-day. He was no sooner installed but he sent his synodal letters to Pope Adrian, to whom  the empress also wrote in her own and her son's name on the subject of a general council, begging that he would either come in person, or at least send some venerable and learned men as his legates to Constantinople. Tarasius wrote likewise a letter to the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, wherein he desires them to send their respective legates to the intended council. His letter to the pope was to the same effect. The pope sent his legates, as desired, and wrote by them to the emperor, the empress, and the patriarch; applauded their zeal, showing at large the impiety of the Iconoclast heresy, insisting that the false council of the Iconoclasts, held under Copronymus for the establishment of Iconoclasm, should be first condemned in presence of his legates, and conjuring them before God to re-establish holy images at Constantinople, and in all Greece, on the footing they were before. He recommends to the emperor and empress his two legates to the council, who were Peter, archpriest of the Roman church, and Peter, priest and abbot of St. Sabas, in Rome. The eastern patriarchs being under the Saracen yoke, could not come for fear of giving offence to their jealous masters, who prohibited, under the strictest penalties, all commerce with the empire. However, with much difficulty and through many dangers, they sent their deputies.
The legates of the pope and the oriental patriarchs being arrived, as also the bishops under their jurisdiction, the council was opened on the 1st of August in the Church of the Apostles, at Constantinople, in 786. But the assembly being disturbed by the violences of the Iconoclasts, and desired by the empress to break up and withdraw for the present, the council met again the  year following in the Church of St. Sophia, at Nice. The two legates from the pope are named first in the Acts, St. Tarasius next, and after him the legates of the oriental patriarchs-namely, John, priest and monk, for the Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem, and Thomas, priest and monk, for the Patriarch of Alexandria. The council consisted of three hundred and fifty bishops, besides many abbots and other holy priests and confessors, who having declared the sense of the present church in relation to the matter in debate, which was found to be the allowing to holy pictures and images a relative honour, the council was closed with the usual acclamations and prayers for the prosperity of the emperor and empress; after which synodal letters were sent to all the churches, and in particular to the pope, who approved the council.
The good patriarch, pursuant to the decrees of the synod, restored holy images throughout the extent of his jurisdiction. He also laboured zealously to abolish simony, and wrote a letter upon that subject to Pope Adrian, in which, by saying it was the glory of the Roman church to preserve the purity of the priesthood, he intimated that that church was free from this reproach. The life of this holy patriarch was a model of perfection to his clergy and people. His table had nothing of superfluity. He allowed himself very little time for sleep, being always up the first and last in his family. Reading and prayer filled all his leisure hours. It was his pleasure, in imitation of our blessed Redeemer, to serve others instead of being served by them; on which account he would scarce permit his own servants to do any thing for him. Loving humility in himself, he sought sweetly to induce all others to the love of that virtue. He banished the use of gold and scarlet from among the clergy, and labored to extirpate all the irregularities among the people. His charity and love for the poor seemed to surpass his other virtues. He often took the dishes of meat from his table to distribute among them with his own hands: and he assigned them a large fixed revenue. And that none might be overlooked, he visited all the houses and hospitals in Constantinople. In Lent, especially, his bounty to them was incredible. His discourses were powerful exhortations to the universal mortification of the senses, and he was particularly severe against all theatrical entertainments. Some time after, the emperor became enamored of Theodota, a maid of honor to his wife, the empress Mary, whom he had always hated; and forgetting what he owed to God, he was resolved to divorce her in 795, after seven years' cohabitation. He used all his efforts to gain the patriarch, and sent a principal officer to him for that purpose, accusing his wife of a plot to poison him. St. Tarasius answered the messenger, saying, "I know not how the emperor can bear the infamy of so scandalous an action in the sight of the universe, nor how he will be able to hinder or punish adulteries and debaucheries if he himself set such an example. Tell him that I will rather suffer death and all manner of torments than consent to his design." The emperor, hoping to prevail with him by flattery, sent for him to the palace, and said to him, I can conceal nothing from you, whom I regard as my father. No one can deny but I may divorce one who has attempted my life. She deserves death or perpetual penance." He then produced a vessel, as he pretended, full of the poison prepared for him. The patriarch, with good reason, judging the whole to be only an artful contrivance to impose upon him, answered that he was too well convinced that his passion for Theodota was at the bottom of all his complaints against the empress. He added that though she were guilty of the crime he laid to her charge, his second marriage during her life with any other would still be contrary to the law of God, and that he would draw upon himself the censures of the church by attempting it. The monk John, who had been legate of the eastern patriarchs in the seventh council, being present, spoke also very resolutely to the emperor on the subject, so that the pretors and patricians threatened to stab him on the spot: and the emperor, boiling with rage, drove them both from his presence. As soon as they were gone, he turned the Empress Mary out of his palace, and obliged her to put on a religious veil. Tarasius persisting in his refusal to marry him to Theodota, the ceremony was performed by Joseph, treasurer of the church of Constantinople. This scandalous example was the occasion of several governors and other powerful men divorcing their wives or taking more than one at the same time, and gave great encouragement to public lewdness. SS. Plato and Theodorus separated themselves from the emperor's communion, to show their abhorrence of his crime. But Tarasius did not think it prudent to proceed to excommunication, as he had threatened, apprehensive that the violence of his temper, when further provoked, might carry him still greater lengths, and prompt him to re-establish the heresy which he had taken such effectual measures to suppress. Thus the patriarch, by his moderation, prevented the ruin of religion, but drew upon himself the emperor's resentment, who persecuted him many ways during the remainder of his reign. Not content to set spies and guards over him under the name of Syncelli, who watched all his actions and suffered no one to speak to him without their leave, he banished many of his domestics and relations. This confinement gave the saint the more leisure for contemplation, and he never ceased in it to recommend his flock to God. The ambitious Irene, finding that all her contrivances to render her son odious to his subjects had proved ineffectual to her design, which was to engross the whole power to herself, having gained over to her party the principal officers of the court and army, she made him prisoner, and caused his eyes to be plucked out: this was executed with so much violence that the unhappy prince died of it, in 797. After this she reigned alone five years, during which she recalled all the banished, but at length met with the deserved reward of her ambition and cruelty from Nicephorus, a patrician, and the treasurer-general, who, in 802, usurped the empire, and having deposed her, banished her into the Isle of Lesbos, where she soon after died with grief.
St. Tarasius, on the death of the late emperor, having interdicted and deposed the treasurer Joseph, who had married and crowned Theodota, St. Plato and others who had censured his lenity became thoroughly reconciled to him. The saint, under his successor, Nicephorus, a patrician, persevered peaceably in his practices of penance, and in the functions of his pastoral charge. In his last sickness he still continued to offer daily the holy sacrifice so long as he was able to move. A little before his death he fell into a kind of trance, as the author of his life, who was an eyewitness, relates, wherein he was heard to dispute and argue with a number of accusers, very busy in sifting his whole life, and objecting all they could to it. He seemed in a great fright and agitation on this account, and, defending himself, answered everything laid to his charge. This filled all present with fear, seeing the endeavors of the enemy of man to find something to condemn even in the life of so holy and so irreprehensible a bishop. But a great serenity succeeded, and the holy man gave up his soul to God in peace, on the 25th of February, in 806, having sat twenty-one years and two months. God honoured his memory with miracles, some of which are related by the author of his life. His festival began to be celebrated under his successor. The Latin and Greek churches both honour his memory on this day. Fourteen years after his decease, Leo the Armenian, the Iconoclast emperor, dreamt a little before his own death that he saw St. Tarasius highly incensed against him, and heard him command one Michael to stab him. Leo, judging this Michael to be a monk in the saint's monastery, ordered him the next morning to be sought for, and even tortured some of the  religious to oblige them to a discovery of the person; but it happened there was none of that name among them, and Leo was killed six days after by Michael Balbus.
The virtue of St. Tarasius was truly great, because constant and crowned with perseverance, though exposed to continual dangers of illusion or seduction amidst the artifices of hypocrites and a wicked court. St. Chrysostom observes1 that the path of virtue is narrow, and lies between precipices, in which it is easier for the traveller to be seized with giddiness even near the end of his course, and fall. Hence this father most grievously laments the misfortune of king Ozias, who, after long practising the most heroic virtures, fell, and perished through pride; and he strenuously exhorts all who walk in the service of God, constantly to live in fear, watchfulness, humility, and compunction. "A soul," says he, "often wants not so much spurring in the beginning of her conversion; her own fervor and cheerfulness make her run vigorously. But this fervor, unless it be continually nourished, cools by degrees: then the devil assails her with all his might. Pirates wait for and principally attack ships when they are upon the return home laden with riches rather than empty vessels going out of the port. Just so the devil, when he sees that a soul has gathered great spiritual riches, by fasts, prayer, alms, chastity, and all other virtues, when he sees our vessel fraught with rich commodities, then he falls upon her, and seeks on all sides to break in. What exceedingly aggravates the evil is the extreme difficulty of ever rising again after such a fall. To err in the beginning may be in part a want of experience, but to fall after a long course is mere negligence, and can deserve no excuse or pardon."


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/T/sttarasius.asp#ixzz1nObsuBKO