Kosmas of Aitolia, Equal to the Apostles
Seventeen centuries after St Paul travelled across Greece, a solitary man of God traversed the sandy country from border to border, sea to sea, and island to island in a magnificent religious tour de force which stoked the fires of Christianity and the flickering hopes of a people straining under the yoke of Turkish oppression and despairing of a return to their ancient culture after nearly four centuries of brutality. This rare specimen of Hellenic Christianity was named Kosmas, a man whose devotion to God and country brought about a resurgence of the Christian spirit of Greece and anticipated the revolution which was to cleanse this proud country of the oppressors with which it had too long been infested.
St Kosmas was not only a priest but a prophet, scholar, patriot, and miracle-worker as well, and each of these to a degree that merited sainthood. The beginnings of Kosmas were inauspicious enough; he hailed from a village called Mega Dendron, Aitolia, where he was born in 1714 AD, the son of a simple weaver whose wife was extremely devout and who undoubtedly influenced her son in his selection of a religious career. He was baptised Konstas and attended public schools, thereafter to be tutored by a family friend, Archdeacon Ananias. After spending some time as a teacher, Konstas decided to attend a school at the Monastery of Vatopedi on the Holy Mountain of Athos, after which he entered the Monastery of Philotheou where he was tonsured a monk and given the name Kosmas. In rapid succession he became a deacon and then priest.
Kosmas had made up his mind to do missionary work, and he could think of no better place to do so than in his homeland, particularly in the remote corners of the rugged peninsula where the lack of churches and flight from persecution had dimmed the light of Christianity. He was determined to revitalise the Christian spirit of every isolated village of Greece and to bring back to the forlorn the age-old Hellenic pride which the Muslims had ground into the dust. He prevailed upon Patriarch Seraphim II to give him a carte blanche to travel wherever he may be needed for whatever period of time necessary for his mission, and as a preacher at large was given a patriarchal blessing to carry out his noble purpose without interference and with complete independence of action. In some of the more remote villages, where no priest had been seen for years, Kosmas found adults who had not been baptised, a situation which he remedied and which gave him added impetus in his crusade. When word of his valiant missionary zeal reached his old monastery, one of his fellow monks saw fit to make public Kosmas’ prophetic powers. Some of his prophecies the people of the time could not comprehend, for Kosmas is not only on record as having predicted that people would be able to converse with each other even though they were miles apart (the telephone), but he also foresaw in the eighteenth century that man would devise a means of flying, and while in flight, unleashing a powerfully destructive force. Over a period of twenty-five years of undiminished zeal, Kosmas travelled not only throughout Greece and its beautiful islands, but he even journeyed through neighbouring Albania.
His prodigious feats in the name of the Lord included the founding of over, 200 schools, charitable institutions, and small churches in rural areas where itinerant priests could conduct the sacred liturgies as often as possible. Wherever he preached he had a habit of planting a cross, as a result of which his crosses dotted the countryside and served as reminders to passersby that somebody cared what happened to them and that God had not forsaken them.
St Kosmas had trod on Muslim toes, and in the area of Ioannina he was arrested on spurious charges of conspiracy, found guilty, and hanged on 24 August 1779. On 21 April 1961 he was canonised a Saint by the Church – although he had been revered as one since his death in ceremonies presided over by the late Patriarch Athenagoras who had always admired the gallant Kosmas.
Kontakion (Fourth Tone)
Come from Aitolia, O God-bearing Father, you became a righteous monk on Mount Athos; and as a true initiate of the glory of God, you preached the word of truth to all men, O most blest one, and you brought them all to Christ as a true emulator of the Apostles’ choir, and you proved to be a hieromartyr in shedding your sacred blood.
Eutyches the Hieromartyr & Disciple of St. John the Theologian
Saint Eutyches was a disciple of Saint John the Theologian and a fellow laborer of the holy Apostle Paul. He preached the Gospel in many places, pulled down the idols’ temples, and suffered imprisonments and many torments at the hands of the idolaters. He finally reposed in peace in deep old age in his native city of Sebastia, near Tarsus.
Apolytikion of Hieromartyr Eutyches in the Fourth Tone
As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Eutyches. Intercede with Christ our God that our souls be saved.
Kontakion of Hieromartyr Eutyches in the Fourth Tone
O God-bearing Eutyches, as the Apostles’ successor, and a most becoming rule and good example to bishops, thou wast also glorified with martyric glory; and thou shonest like the sun, enlightening all men, driving off the night of error. Hence, we revere thee, O godly servant of Christ.
The Translation of the Relics of Dionysios of Zakynthos, Bishop of Aegina
When Saint Dionysios died in 1622 A.D., his last wish was that he be buried in the Church of Saint George on the Strofades Islands where he lived as a monk. Three years after his interment there his body was found to be incorrupt. In 1717 his body was transferred from the Strofades Islands back to his home island of Zakynthos where it resides to this day.
The Translation of the Holy Relics of Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow
On this day we also commemorate the translation of the holy relics of Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow, which took place in the year 1646.
Our holy and wonderworking Father Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow, was born in Volhynia, tonsured a monk at twelve years of age, and later ordained a priest. He lived in solitude for a time in a desert place north of Lvov and founded the Holy Transfiguration Monastery; afterwards he was sent to Constantinople, where the holy Patriarch Athanasius consecrated him Metropolitan of Kiev in 1308, and he returned to Vladimir, where the Metropolitans of Kiev had their residence at that time (see Saint Jonas on June 15). In 1325, he moved to Moscow, where he founded the Dormition Cathedral, and after his repose in December 21, 1326, was buried there. He was also an iconographer, and two of his icons, the Dormition and the Petrovskaya, are found in the Dormition Cathedral (see Oct. 5).
Apolytikion of Holy Relics of Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow in the Fourth Tone
On this day hath come the glorious feast of the translation of thy precious relics, O Saint Peter, which doth exceedingly gladden thy flock and all Christian people. Fail not to pray for them to Christ our God Who entrusted His flock to thee, that it be kept unharmed from enemies, and that our souls be saved.
Kontakion of Holy Relics of Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
Since thou art a most outstanding physician and abundant wellspring of miracles, we thy spiritual children have gathered today in love for the translation of thy precious relics, O Hierarch Peter, and we pray thee: Intercede with Christ God that, by thy venerable translation, we be granted victory over our enemies, and that by thy prayers to God we be delivered from all evil, that with joy of soul and gladness of heart, we may thankfully cry to thee and say: Rejoice, O Father Peter, adornment of bishops and of all the Orthodox faithful.