Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Saint Sozon the Martyr of Cyprus


Saint Sozon is a local Saint of Paphos and a martyr of the Church of Cyprus, but he is unkown to biographers of Saints' lives and for this reason he has no synaxary. However, he is mentioned by the Cypriot Medieval chronicler Leontios Macheras.

According to Leontios Machairas, when the Saracens came to Cyprus during the 7th century AD, they burned the icon of the Virgin Mary at the Monastery (probably the near by monastery of Panagia Chrysorroiatissa or Agia Moni Monastery) and the image of the Virgin Mary was, printed by miracle on the flat stone surface there, and this image existed until the time of Macheras in the 14th century. Saint Sozon was a young shepherd from Plakountoudin, a medieval settlement near the village of Asprogia in Paphos. The young shepherd was persecuted by the Saracens, and during the chase he broke his milk container and the print of the spilled milk remained on the rocks where it fell. Saint Sozon fled to a cave where he hid along with other boys and when the Saracens reached them, they set fire to the cave and burned them.

The cave is located near the village of Asprogia in the Paphos district and is called "The Cave of Saint Sozon". The cave is very large, but today there is nothing inside it since it has ceased to be a place of worship. It is said that in the old days there was water running from the cave which stemmed from its mouth and was considered to be holy water. According to tradition, the holy water of Saint Sozon cures hives. However, today there is no evidence of water there. There is water running from a much smaller cave located in the riverbed, below the large cavern. Also in the old days the faithful used to hang clothes on the wild bushes near the cave in order to be cured. In the area where the Saint became a martyr, opposite the cave and over the river, a church was built to his name in later years where the remains of the Martyr were kept and which were considered miraculous. The ruins of the church of Saint Sozon in Asprogia are still to be seen there. Holy remains of the Saint are kept in the Monastery of Machairas and the Monastery of Chrysorrogiatissa.

The memory of Saint Sozon is celebrated on the 7th of September.

Source

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