May 1, 2011

Holy New Martyr Maria Methymopoula (+ 1826)

St. Maria Methymopoula (Feast Day - May 1)

The New Martyr Maria of Crete was born of pious Orthodox parents in the village of Kato Phourni, and as a young girl she became the object of the desire of an Albanian Turk who was serving as a constable in her neighborhood. He began to woo her with gifts and flatteries, but, although he was rich, realizing that to marry him would mean abandoning her Faith and converting to Islam, Maria took great pains to avoid him and did not respond to his advances. In time the Turk's "love" for her turned into a cruel hatred, and using the means available to him as a constable, he set about to kill her. On a certain day, he saw her on a mulberry tree, collecting its leaves to feed the silkworms; her family tended silkworms. He fired his gun at her and a bullet pierced her heart. Her Life tells us that "the blessed one fell from the tree, branch by branch, as a fowl downed by a hunter." Saint Maria, who is surnamed Methymopoula, was thus slain in the early days of May (probably either the 1st or the 3rd) in the year 1826.