March 1, 2011

Saint Agapios of Vatopaidi

St. Agapios of Vatopaidi (Feast Day - March 1)

Saint Agapios of the Holy Mountain, was a novice in obedience to a virtuous Elder who lived in silence at the Holy Trinity kellia at Kolitsa, within the boundaries of Vatopaidi on Mount Athos. He was taken into captivity by Turks who had landed on the shore of Athos. They took him to Magnesia and there he worked in chains for twelve years. But he did not lose hope for freedom and fervently he prayed to the Mother of God to free him from this bitter captivity.

The Queen of Heaven manifested Her Mercy to the patient sufferer. She appeared to him in a dream and ordered him "to go to his Elder without fear." When he awoke, he saw that he was free of his bonds, and the doors were open. Without hindrance,Agapios departed from his master and returned to Mount Athos.

The Elder grieved when he saw his novice, for he thought that Agapios had secretly escaped from his master. "You have deceived the Hagarene," he said, "but no one can deceive God. If you wish to save yourself, return to your master and serve him." Agapios returned to his master without complaint.

The Muslim was amazed to see Agapios after he had escaped. Hearing the story of what had happened, he was struck by the virtue of Agapios' Elder and the loftiness of the Christian Faith. The master and his two sons went to the Holy Mountain with St Agapios. There they were baptized and became monks, living in asceticism for the rest of their lives.

St Agapios lived in the thirteenth century.


St. Nikolai Velimirovich writes the following:

Faithfulness and obedience to the will of God is necessary to adorn the life of every Christian. As is seen in the life of St. Agapios, God glorifies the faithful and the obedient.

When he was a young man, this Saint was captured by pirates, was taken to Asia and was sold to a certain Arab. For twelve years Agapios remained quietly and obediently a slave of this Arab. For twelve years he prayed to the All-Holy Mother of God to help him gain his freedom from bondage.

One night, the Virgin Mother of God appeared to him and said, "Arise and go without fear to Mt. Athos to your elder." Agapios arose and came to his elder on Mt. Athos, the Holy Mountain. When the elder saw Agapios, he was saddened, thinking that Agapios had fled from his master. He said to him, "My child Agapios, you have deceived your master, but you can never deceive God. On the day of the dreadful judgment, you will have to render an answer for that money with which your master purchased you to serve him. Therefore, you must return and faithfully serve your master."

Agapios, faithful and obedient to the will of God, returned immediately to Asia, reported to his master, and informed him about everything that had happened. The Arab, learning all of this, was amazed and was overcome with the charity of Christians. He desired to see Agapios' elder. The Arab arrived at the Holy Mountain, accompanied by his two sons. Here, he and his two sons were baptized. All three of them were tonsured as monks. They remained there until their deaths, practicing the strict life of asceticism, at first, under the guidance of Agapios' spiritual father, and afterwards, by Agapios himself.

Thus, the one-time cruel masters became the obedient disciples of their former slave, faithful to the will of the God of the obedient Agapios.

Canon of the Saints of Mount Athos. Ode 1. Tone 8.
It is fitting to hymn the glorious Agapios of Vatopaidi, because he heard the voice of the Mother of God and, though a slave, like a free man ransomed his own master with his sons from eternal punishment.