4 / 17 February
He was an Egyptian, the son of eminent parents and a kinsman of the Patriarchs of Alexandria Theophilus and Cyril. Completing his secular studies, he renounced his riches and worldly standing and gave himself wholly to the spiritual life for the love of Christ. He was a great and ardent interpreter and defender of the Orthodox faith. The historian Nicephorus states that St Isidore wrote more than 10,000 letters to various people, in which he reprimanded one, advised another, consoled a third, instructed a fourth. 'It is more important to be proficient in good works than in golden-tongued preaching', he writes in one letter. In another, he says: 'If a man wishes his virtues to appear great, let him regard them as small and then they will be truly shown to be great.' The first and fundamental rule for Isidore was first do and then teach, after the example of the Lord Jesus. At a time when St John Chrysostom was undergoing persecution and the whole world was divided into two camps, one for and one against this great pillar of Orthodoxy, St Isidore stood on the side of Chrysostom. He wrote to Patriarch Theophilus, saying what a great light Chrysostom was in the Church and begging that the hatred of him should cease. He lived long and laboured greatly, glorifying Christ the Lord in his life and his writings, and entered into the Kingdom of Christ in about 450.