Monday, March 26, 2012

St. Lavrentios (Lawrence) of Salamina, founder of the Monastery of Panagia Phaneromene

St. Lavrentios (Lawrence) of Salamina, founder of the Monastery of Panagia Phaneromene (amateur translation)
Our righteous father Lavrentios (Lawrence) was born in Megara of Attica during the first half of the 17th century to simple parents: Demetrios and Kyriake, who were pious in the Orthodox faith and dedicated to the Church.

His name in the world was Lampros Kanellos. When he came of age, he was married to Vasilo, with whom he bore two children: Demetrios and John. He lived a pious and simple life with his family, during those difficult days of the Turkish occupation.

He was a farmer by trade, and he also knew about construction work. His life was utterly virtuous, with traditional Orthodox piety and prayer in his heart, gifts which made him a friend of God and His Saints.

Because of this, when once he was with others tilling the fields, during the night, the Most-Holy Theotokos appeared to him in a vision, in which she called him to go to the place that she showed him, to build her Church. This place was on the north side of the island of Salamis (Salamina), across from the shore of Megara named Megalo Pevko (today Nea Pergamos). The elder did not agree to complete this command, so the Panagia appeared to him again the next night, appearing more serious. But as he still kept his doucts, the third time the Panagia appeared to him, saying: “Go quickly, O man, to the island which I told you, to complete that which is protected by me.”

Then the humble elder returned to the city of Megara, and related the vision to some of his close friends, of which some believed and some did not. Thus returned to his house without a decision.

One night, the Most-Holy Theotokos again appeared to him, ordering him to go to Salamina to complete her command.

Then he made the great decision to go to the opposite shore. However, there was a great storm in the sea, and there were no boats to take him across to Salamina. As he sat pondering and worried, he heart an other-worldly voice tell him: “Throw your cloak on the sea and sit upon it, and you will be taken without danger to the island”. With total faith in the divine command, and driving out all fear and hesitation, he threw his cloak on the sea, and was transported safe and unharmed to the island of Salamina. He immediately went to the place that the Theotokos had showed him, and having excavated the remains of an ancient holy Monastery, with much toil, he uncovered the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God, which had been darkened by the moisture, but is truly the treasure of the island of Salamina, and the whole Orthodox Church.

The miraculous icon of Panagia "Phaneromene" ("The Revealed One"), Salamina - celebrated on the Apodosis of the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 23) (,
This icon of the Most-Holy Theotokos, was named “Phaneromenh”, because thus it was revealed to the Righteous Saint. The Holy Monastery took the same name, and the Righteous man continued with much toil to rebuild it. It was here that he became a Monk, taking the monastic name “Lavrentios”. In this Monastery he was made the Abbot, and he gathered Hieromonks and Monks, teaching them and giving to them an example of the righteous life in God, and a sacred example in their days.

At first he built the small Chapel, which today bears the name of St. Nicholas, and later the great Katholikon, which he also had decorated with amazing frescos, which exist to this day.

Icon from the Monastery of St. John the Forerunner, Megara, depicting St. Lawrence of Salamis and St. Meletios beside the Monastery of Panagia Phaneromeni. In the top of the icon are depicted the Holy Ten Martyrs of Megara, protecting the City of Megara (source)
This simple man, the Righteous Lavrentios, God granted wondrous spiritual gifts, among which is the gift of wonderworking, as the Saint demonstrated during his life. One such wonder was the healing of the wife of an Ottoman general, whom the doctors could not heal. The fame of St. Lavrentios, that he could heal the sick through his prayer, reached her years, and against the protestations of her husband, she went from their home in Athens to the area, where with prayer and the sign of the cross on her body, she was saved from certain death. This miracle not only struck her husband with deep respect, but he proceeded to grant the Holy Monastery land with olive trees, which are in the area of Megara, which is today called Vlychada, which the Ottoman seized against the law.

The Saint lived many years in asceticism and prayer, and reposed in the Lord on the 9th of March, 1707, the day of the holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, as it appears in a manuscript preserved in the Holy Monastery from those days. He passed on the position of Abbot to his son John, who became a Monk with the Monastic name Joachim.

St. Lavrentios' memory, however, was transferred to March 7th by Monks in his Monastery, that it might not fall on the same day as the great feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs.

Apolytikion in the First Tone (amateur translations below)
The offspring of Megara, and adornment of ascetics, the protector of the Monastery of Salamina, the God-bearer Lavrentios, let us honor rightly, O brethren, in hymns and spiritual odes, for he finished the good fight of virtue and faith. Entreat on our behalf, O all-blessed Lavrentios, and protect your monastery and your city through your prayers.
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
The boast of the city of the Righteous, O godly-minded, blessed one, you desired Christ, and the Fashioner bestowed upon you a crown of glory.
Abandoning the temporary things of life, and desiring the incorruptible things, O all-blessed, Righteous One, you endured all things in patience, and struggled well in your Monastery, praying ceaselessly to the Lord and enduring bravely the temptations of the invisible enemies, not paying them any heed, O Father, but you trampled upon them with the power of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, the Fashioner bestowed upon you a crown of glory.
On the 7th of this month (March), we commemorate the memory of our righteous Father Lavrentios (Lawrence), the founder of the Monastery of Panagia Phaneromene on the island of Salamina.
You now have heaven as your dwelling-place, O father,
For you abandoned the things of earth and corruptible things, O blessed one.
Every intercede, therefore, for your servants,
That they might be kept unharmed from the snares of temptation.
For the full service of the Saint in Greek, see:

St. Lawrence of Salamis miraculously traversing the waters (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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