Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saint Thalelaeos and his Veneration on the Island of Naxos

Icon of St. Thalelaeos from the Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in the village of Agios Thalelaeos on the island of Naxos.

Saint Thalelaeos was born in Lebanon. His father was called Berukios and his mother was called Romylia. Thalelaeos was an eighteen-year old youth, handsome of countenance, physically tall and with reddish yellow hair. He was a physician by profession.

During the reign of Numerian (283-284), Thalelaeos bravely confessed his faith in Christ the Lord before his tormenting judge. In return the judge ordered the two executioners, Alexander and Asterios, to bore through his knees with a drill, to thread a rope through the perforated bones and to hang him from a tree. But God through an invisible power, took away the sight of the executioners. In place of Thalelaeos they bored through a board and hung it from a tree. When the judge found out, he thought that the executioners did this intentionally and ordered them both to be flogged. Then Alexander and Asterios, in the midst of their flogging, cried out: "The Lord is alive to us and, from now on, we are also becoming Christians. We believe in Christ and suffer for Him." Upon hearing this, the judge ordered that both be beheaded.

Then the judge took the drill to bore the knees of Thalelaeos himself but his hands became paralyzed and he begged Thalelaeos to save him, which the innocent martyr of Christ did, with the help of prayer. Following that, Thalelaeos was thrown into water but appeared alive before his tormentor (for Thalelaeus prayed to God inwardly to prolong his sufferings that he not die immediately). When he was thrown before wild beasts, they licked his feet and were amiable toward him. Finally, Thalelaeos was beheaded in the city of Edessa in Asia Minor and took up his habitation in life eternal in the year 284 A.D.

Saint Thalelaeos is numbered among the twenty Unmercenary Saints of the Orthodox Church. At the spot where he was beheaded in Edessa, God allowed a plant to grow which by His grace was able to cure all manner of diseases and sicknesses, to show the Saint as a bearer of grace who practiced the art of medicine.

On the island of Naxos the Saint is especially celebrated in the village named after him, Agios Thalelaeos. A church exists there dedicated to him which originally was the central church of a monastery. Today this church is the central parish of the village. It dates to 1501 and enjoys a great celebration on the feast of the Saint, which falls on May 20th. The celebration is so big, that other churches on the island also celebrate the Saint with a festival. Among these other churches on the island are the churches dedicated to the Saint in Chora, Damarionas, and the Chapel of Panagia Eleousa. At the same time, the Association of Athenian Naxians dedicated a magnificent icon of the Saint to the majestic sacred Church of the Evangelist Luke in Patision. Saint Nikodemos, who was from Naxos, writes that many miracles took place during the festival of Saint Thalelaeos in Naxos, and he even composed a Divine Office in honor of the Saint.

From Naxos the veneration of Saint Thalelaeos spread to the rest of the Cyclades. In neighboring Paros, in the settlement of Sklavouna of Naousa, there is a chapel dedicated to the Saint, as well as on the island of Amorgos in Chora, and on the island of Mykonos where there are two chapels: in Aggelika and Ombroudechtake. The Saint is also celebrated on Sifnos at the Cathedral of Saint Spyridon in Apollonia, where there is a silver covered icon of the Saint. In Santorini the Saint is celebrated in the cemetery Church of Saint George and Saint Anna in Palio Chorio, as well as at the Convent of Saint George in Imerovigli which dates back to 1651 and until the earthquake of 1956 contained a chapel to the Saint.

Icon of St. Thalelaeos from the Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in the village of Agios Thalelaeos on the island of Naxos.

Apolytikion in the First Tone
O Thalelaeos, thou didst defeat idolatrous error by thy martyr's contest. Thou wast a treasury of healing, freely curing all who run to thy church with faith, and who cry out with love: Glory to Him Who has strengthened thee; glory to Him Who has made thee wonderful; glory to Him Who through thee works healings for all.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Thou wast a fellow athlete with the martyrs, O Thalelaeos, and didst become a soldier of the King of glory. Thou didst trample on the idolater's pride, through thy trials and torments. Wherefore we praise thy memory.

Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in the village of Agios Thalelaeos on the island of Naxos.

Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in the village of Agios Thalelaeos on the island of Naxos.

Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in the village of Agios Thalelaeos on the island of Naxos.

Icon of the Saint in the Cathedral of Saint Spyridon in Apollonia, Sifnos

Icon of the Saint in Palio Chorio, Santorini

Icon of the Saint in the Church of the Evangelist Luke in Patision

Icon of the Saint at the Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in Aggelika, Mykonos

Icon of the Saint at the Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in Ombroudechtake, Mykonos

Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in Aggelika, Mykonos

Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in Aggelika, Mykonos

Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in Aggelika, Mykonos

Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in Ombroudechtake, Mykonos

Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in Ombroudechtake, Mykonos

Chapel of Saint Thalelaeos in Ombroudechtake, Mykonos

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