Thursday, August 20, 2009

The relics of St. Photini in Constantinople

Icon of St. Photini the Great-Martyr (Icon courtesy of used with permission)
The synaxarion for August 20th includes the following entry:
Mνήμη της Aγίας Mάρτυρος Φωτεινής, έξω της πόρτας των Bλαχερνών.
+Ήδη βλέπεις φως άδυτον του Kυρίου,
Θανούσα Mάρτυς αγάπης αυτού χάριν.
The memory of the Holy Martyr Photini, outside of the gates of Blachernae
+Now you see light in the innermost sactuary of the Lord,
Departed Martyr graced with His love.
(amateur translation)
Most of the modern Synaxaria show no details about this entry, but interestingly, an 11th or 12th century life of St. Photini recounts how her sacred relics were discovered and worked many miracles in Constantinople. The first finding of her relics in Constantinople (and the subsequent building of her shrine) occured near Blachernae, so this feast mentioned above may correspond to the following miracle:
"An epidemic of blindness has swept through the city of Constantinople and a man called Abraham (Abraamios) was distraught having lost his sight. He cried out to:
"God not to neglect him who was in mortal danger, but to show him the path whereby he should not be deprived of the light that is sweetest to all men. As he was thus despondent and lamenting his condition, he found respite from his despair in sleep, and while he was asleep he saw a divine vision: the vision was of a woman who was already elderly and aged and quite advanced in years, wearing a garment of linen, with a pleasant and charming face. She seemed to carry a large candle, and touched his eyes and said in a cheerful voice: "Blind men, recover your sight, and those who are in darkness, receive the light; for behold, through me, the perfume-bearing martyr Photeine, Christ will grant light to your darkened eyes and will bring an end to your affliction and relieve your suffering. And this is a sign for you. A thickly wooded and dark cave holds my in its depths, and if you dig you will find me and light will shine II on you and all your household and everyone who calls on my name through Jesus Christ." As she spoke these words, she indicated the place with her hand, and he made a mental note of it. Therefore he quickly shook off his drowsiness, and ran to the spot, after sharing word of his vision with others. And after laboring hard for a short time they found concealed beneath an underground chamber the inviolate treasure, the true pearl, the blooming lily, the venerable remains of the great martyr Photeine, which dimly preserved the features in the man's vision. Straightaway then the afflicted man embraced, clasped and kissed the , washed them with his tears, lifted his eyes up to them, and was immediately delivered entirely from his dim sight." (A. M. Talbot "The Posthumous Miracles of St. Photeine" Analecta Bollandiana 112 (1994), 90.; taken from:

Thus for a time in Constantinople, the relics of St. Photini inhabited two shrines dedicated to her, and helped work many miracles for the faithful. However, these shrines are no longer extant, to my knowledge. St. Photini is still greatly honored throughout the world as the Samaritan Woman who met Christ and followed and preached Him until death, and who continues to work many miracles and healings. She is especially honored at her church built at the Well of Jacob (today the town of Nablus), and by her church in Nea Smyrni outside of Athens, built by the people of Smyrna after the Catastrophe. Finally, the Monastery of Iveron on Mount Athos treasures the holy, incorrupt foot and leg of the Saint (which is supposedly the largest remaining portion of her relics), while Grigoriou Monastery has a portion of her skull, and many other churches and monasteries treasure her relics as well.
The holy, incorrupt foot of St. Photini the Great Martyr, treasured by the Monastery of Iveron, Mount Athos (source)
See the previous posts for the life of St. Photini and those martyred with her (, and an account of her feast on the Fifth Sunday of Pascha ( May St. Photini intercede for us all and help us!

Another icon of St. Photini the Great-Martyr (taken from:
Dismissal Hymn of St. Photini - Third Tone – “Your confession…”
All illuminated by the Holy Spirit, you drank with great and ardent longing of the waters Christ Saviour gave to you; and with the streams of salvation you were refreshed, which you abundantly gave to those athirst. O Great Martyr and true peer of the Apostles, Photini, entreat Christ God to grant mercy to us.
(taken from:
   Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

HI! Can i have at a little piece of the relic of St. Photini? I am only a student. I am a devotee of the great martyr. Thank you! I am a Filipino. :)