Tuesday, May 12, 2015

St Epiphanius, Liopetri - Cyprus

St. Epiphanius is the patron saint of the Holy Metropolis of Constance and Famagusta, which was reconstituted in 2007. That is why the village of Liopetri has a beautiful small church dedicated to this local saint.

The Saint was born into a poor Jewish peasant family, in the village Visandouk in Palestine in 310 AD. After the death of his parents at the age of ten, Epiphanius was attracted to Christianity by two renowned, for their knowledge and their asceticism, monks, Lucian and Hilarion. Seven days after his baptism, Epiphanius arranged for his sister to enter a convent; after he himself went to the desert of Palestine. There he lived close to the most eminent ascetics, exercising and studying the Holy Scriptures, becoming a role model for his fellow ascetics. His fame and virtues soon spread, making him Bishop of Constantia in Cyprus in 367 AD, where he escaped in a miraculous manner, when his ship, which was floating towards Palestine, due to bad weather, arrived in Cyprus. From this position, Saint Epiphanius began the evangelisation of his flock, struggling with the warmest zeal for the preservation and strengthening of orthodox doctrines, fighting against all heretical beliefs and fallacies of his time. In 381 AD Epiphanius, along with four other bishops from Cyprus, took part in the Second Ecumenical Council.

St. Epiphanius died at sea, returning to Constantia from Constantinople (12 May 403 AD), where he had gone for a number of ecclesiastical affairs. He had been an ecclesiastical hierarch for 36 years. His holy relics were transferred to the Byzantine capital by Emperor Leo VI the Wise.

St Epiphanius was a prolific writer and a remarkable ecclesiastical writer. He also performed miracles. He had, for example, healed the daughter of the Persian king from the demon which tormented her, he resurrected a Persian noble man’s dead child, he expelled the demon from Callistus (the son of the first Eparch of Rome) and he healed Emperor Theodosius the Great from paralysis of the lower limbs. St. Epiphanius is celebrated by the Orthodox Church on the 12th May.

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