Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Martyr Christos the Gardener

St. Christos the Gardner (Feast Day - February 12)

Saint Christos was born in Albania. At forty years old he traveled to Constantinople, where he exercised the profession of gardening. One day while he was selling apples in the town market, a Turk came and wanted to buy all the apples at a humiliating price. Christos resisted and they came to an argument. The Turk became angry and, wanting revenge, he went to the authorities and reported that Christos allegedly had said that he will become a Muslim. Forced to stand before the judge, Christos was asked if this was true. "In the name of God," replied the poor gardener, "I never said such words. I am a Christian and can not change my faith even if I must suffer a thousand evils." Then the judge ordered Christos to be beaten vigorously with sticks. They even gave him a blow on the head and his head was soaked in blood. After that, he was tied up, taken to prison, and his legs were put in stocks.

At that time, it happened that the famous scholar Monk Kaisarios Dapontes was also in prison. He felt pity for Christos and asked the guardians to release his legs from the stocks, and they released him. Monk Kaisarios Dapontes even managed to find some food and took it to him. "Thank you Father", said Christos, "but why should I eat? Will I even live? Let me then die for my Lord Jesus Christ hungry and thirsty." And he took out and gave Monk Kaisarios a metal file, which he was carrying on him. "Sell it," he said, "and make some Divine Liturgies and Memorial services for my soul."

That same day, the guards came and took the Martyr from prison and led him outside the city. He peacefully put his neck down and gave himself to Jesus Christ. So, the gardener of Constantinople left the gardens of the Bosporus to become a gardener of the heavenly Paradise. He was decapitated on the twelfth of February 1748. The monk Kaisarios Dapontes wrote about the life and suffering of the Martyr, and in turn it was recorded by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite.

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