Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saint Kali the Philanthropist


All that we know of Saint Kali comes from the Service composed in her honor. The acrostic of the Canon to Saint Kali informs us that the poem was written by "the Cretan". In other words, it was written by an Archbishop of Crete. In the two manuscripts we have of this Service, we are given the interpretation of this, that it was "Andrew of Crete". If this Andrew of Crete is indeed Saint Andrew, Archbishop of Crete, then we know Saint Kali lived before his death in 740. But then again, this could be another Archbishop of Crete. Some have proposed Nikephoros Moschopoulos, Metropolitan of Crete, who was Metropolitan from 1285-1322. If this is the case, then Saint Kali lived no later than the fourteenth century.

Saint Kali was from Asia Minor. Her was rich and she disposed of her property to philanthropical causes. She was not likely a nun, since nowhere in her Service does it indicate that she was. Rather, she housed the homeless and the needy in her home, because she was dedicated to ministering to the suffering of those less fortunate.

Kali was a virgin who lived wisely with asceticism, fasting and unceasing prayer. Her characteristic virtue was her philanthropy. Her chief motive was her desire to keep the commandments of Christ, and to imitate divine mercy and love for mankind.

In her Service many miracles are also attributed to her. At one time she made bread to distribute to the poor, and God made it so that as the bread was distributed it never diminished in order for all to be fed. Even after death are miracles attributed to Saint Kali. So many are her miracles, that the hymnographer refers it to being a "sea of miracles" and he calls her "miracle-gusher". She is known to have healed both soul and body, but especially painful and chronic diseases, rheumatism, arthritis, paralysis and deformities of the joints of body parts.

The memory of Saint Kali is celebrated both on May 15th and Bright Saturday.

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