April 15, 2011

The Incorrupt Relics of Monk Gregory Skevofylax of Zakynthos

Present day El-Tor is not much visited by foreign tourists, but this is ancient Raitho where, during the time of the Roman emperor Diocletian, the Holy Fathers of the Sinai were massacred by the Blemmyes of Africa. Not much is left here, but a letter addressed by the Abbot John Hegoumenos of Raitho to "John the most worthy Hegoumenos of Mount Sinai" has survived. From this we learn that at the time of the Abbot John there was a lavra (a group of hermit dwellings) at Raitho. Today, one can still see the ruins of a monastery built by Justinian, and there is also a more recent monastery with a splendid church dedicated to St. George and a guest house. The Greek Orthodox Monastery with Church of St. George, is a medieval rebuilding of an earlier church located near the sea on adjacent land now part of the El-Kelany archaeological site.

Within the Church of St. George are the incorrupt relics of "the second founder of the monastery", Monk Gregory Skevofylax of Zakynthos. Monk Gregory helped re-establish the Monastery at Raithou with Monk Prophyrios in 1827. Recently his relics were discovered to be incorrupt. The Church of St. George was founded by Monk Gregory in 1885.

Below is a Codex from the Monastery of St. Katherines with the signature of Monk Gregory from 1869: