Friday, June 27, 2014

St Theofilos, Zakynthos

St Theofilos was born in Zakynthos in 1617 AD. He was a beautiful and strong young man. Working in the navy, he did not wish to work on a Turkish ship. (During this period Greece was under Ottoman Rule – 1453-1821). Going against the Turkish captain, who defamed him for not wearing the Turkish turban on his head, he was lead to the judge, where they tried, with kindness and threats to make him leave Christianity and become a Muslim. Stating his belief in Jesus Christ, he was circumcised with force from the Turks, who wished to send him as a present to the Sultan’s Palace.

When Theofilos was in Chios, he managed to escape to Samos, where he stayed for a long time. When he returned to the island of Chios, the Turks recognised him and took him in front of the local judge. The judge, seeing that the young Theofilos persists on being a Christian, he condemned him to death by fire. Theofilos, hearing this news, he did the sign of the cross and said ‘to you my Christ I give my soul’ and walked by himself in the fire, giving his life for his belief on the 24th July 1653 AD.
The remaining relics were bought by Christians and placed in the Church of St George in Chios. However, his is also greatly remembered and venerated in Zante, where he was born, especially in the Church of Panagia Faneromeni, since he lived right behind that Church.

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