Saturday, September 12, 2015

Saint Daniel of Thasos

St. Daniel the Thasian (Feast Day - September 12)


Daniel the new did not allow entrance to the assaults of the passions,
As the earlier Daniel with the teeth of the lion.
On the twelfth Daniel departed this life.

Our Holy Father Daniel was born in Thasos (Thassos) during the time of Iconoclasm in the reign of Leo V the Armenian (813-820) around the year 813, and was a contemporary of Saint Ioannikios the Great (Nov. 4). He was born of pious parents who raised him to love virtue, wisdom, temperance and humility. When he came of age he desired to withdraw from the world and live in solitude in unceasing prayer and fasting. For this reason he found a cave on the small island next to Thasos called Krambousa. As it is impossible to keep a brightly shining lamp hidden, his fame as a virtuous ascetic soon spread, and around him gathered many disciples. Obedient to the will of God for sending him these men in search of guidance in the spiritual life, he established a monastery on the island, making as it were a city in the wilderness.

Around that time Saint Ioannikios the Great came to Thasos, and he also was admired for his holiness of life. There was a plague of snakes on the island, and when the inhabitants entreated him to rid the island of the snakes, Ioannikios did so through his prayers, and they all went into the sea. Though Daniel was abbot of his own monastery in the neighboring island, he did not want to lose the opportunity of joining with Ioannikios in Thasos to live the ascetic life together and learning from him.

So Ioannikios and Daniel withdrew together to live in a certain cave haunted by a fearsome looking black demon. The two ascetics however entered and ignored the demon without fear. This troubled the demon, so he decided to turn himself into a fearsome snake and wrap around the feet of Daniel while he prayed, and he caused a terrible pain in the side of Ioannikios that left him speechless for a week. Refusing to withdraw, the two Saint's remained steadfast, causing the demon to disappear. They rejoiced in the grace and help of God, conversing with God undisturbed.

After a short time Saint Ioannikios decided to return to his monastery on Mount Trichalikos, and he urged Saint Daniel to return to his monastery in Krambousa because they had need of his guidance. Daniel obediently went and the monks rejoiced at his return. There were also solitaries living outside the monastery who had Daniel as their spiritual father.

At a ripe old age Saint Daniel reposed in peace in his monastery, and was buried there by his spiritual children. In 1993 a chapel dedicated to Saint Daniel was built on the island of Krambousa, where the people of Thasos celebrate his memory every year on September 12th.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
A most true shepherd, and leader of monastics, you showed yourself to be, all-venerable one, to the monastery in Thasos, Daniel worthy of praise; wherefore by your grace, you provide healings, that you dispense bountifully to those who come near to you, and celebrate with longing your memory all-blessed one.

Kontakion in Plagal of the Fourth Tone
As a guide and teacher of monastics, as the protector of the island of Thasos we praise you, Daniel, by celebrating your august memory, for you have boldness before the Lord, beseeching the Lord, to release us from evils, as we cry out: Rejoice, All-Venerable Father.

Below are photos of the island of Krambousa, together with the Church of Saint Daniel on the mountain:

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