Tuesday, February 14, 2012

St. Damian the New Righteous Martyr (+1568)

St. Damian the New Righteous Martyr (+1568) - Commemorated February 14 (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-UEaev7N07fI/TV-pFwwFf5I/AAAAAAAAAKY/hZIe0wfcNJk/s1600/img630.jpg)
St. Damian (Damianos) was born in the village of Myrichovo, Karditsas (Agia Triada today) to pious parents around 1510, and from his young age he loved the monastic life and wished to be arrayed in the angelic Schema of Monasticism. Thus he left his home and came to the Holy Mountain, and became a monk in the Holy Monastery of Philotheou. After a short time he left the monastery, and went to a hermitage to pursue further prayer with an ascetic named Dometios. He remained there for roughly three years, and the monk Damian cultivated all of the virtues of the monastic life. The Saint was worthy to hear a divine voice which told him: “Damian, you cannot seek only your own benefit, but that for others, too.”

After this, the monk Damian left Mount Athos and came to the area of Olympou. There he preached the word of God, peace, moving Christians to repent, to flee their injustices and evil deeds, and he advised them to follow the commandments of God. His word, however, was not appreciated by some hypocritical Christians, who condemned him as a deceiver of the people. Damian, however, as a true Christian, did not pay attention to their slanders, but left from that area to go to Larissa and Kissavou. Unfortunately, he met the same there: injustices, misery, anger, and ulterior motives. He decided to flee and to go to Agrapha, continuing his fiery preaching. The teaching of the Saint was always the same: steadfast faith and the keeping of the Lord's commandments. The Saint is seen as the founder of the Monastery of Panagia Peleketes in Karytsa, Dolopon, which was the base of the Saint's missionary efforts. The Saint largely rebuilt the Holy Monastery, which had suffered significant damage, and he completed its construction. Thus he passed into the consciences of the people of the area, becoming the founder of the Monastery, and being depicted in two frescos of the Monastery with the title of “Ktitoros” (“Founder”) only 86 years after his martyrical repose (the one fresco is from 1654, and the second from 1666).

However, even in Agrapha where the Saint was loved so, the devil was hunting him. Some impious and non-God-fearing inhabitants of the area slandered him, and condemned him as a deceiver of the people and a false monk. Thus, he left and moved to Kissavo, and there, next to the village of Anatole, he built a new monastery in honor of the Precious Forerunner. He lived with other monks in prayer for the peace from above, and for the peace of the whole world. A multitude of faithful people of the region would come to the Monastery to hear the fiery preaching of the Saint. Once, Damian went for work from his monastery to the neighboring village of Voulgarine. There, he was met by the Turks, and led to the Turkish judge, being slandered by those who said that he hindered the selling at the markets on Sunday, and that he urged the Greeks to remain steadfast in their faith. He was then tortured terribly for 15 days, beaten furiously, bound by his feet with heavy iron chains, and had his life threatened. It was futile, however, so the Turkish ruler ordered him to be put to death first at the gallows, and then to be thrown into the fire. The executioners hanged him, and one of them hit him hard on the head with a club. However, the robe snapped and the Saint fell half-dead to the floor. The executioners them took him and threw him into the fire, after which they threw his ashes into the river Peneio. Thus the Righteous Martyr Damianos received the crown of Martyrdom on February 14, 1568. His memory is celebrated on the 14th of February.
St. John the Forerunner, and St. Damian the New Righteous Martyr (http://vatopaidi.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/st-damian-the-new.jpg)
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone (amateur translation)
Rejoice today those in Kissavo Monastery, and let Larissa skip, being gathered at the sacred feast of Damian, come therefore, let us together offer hymns of praise to the Savior through him, and let us praise him, for we are save through his intercessions.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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