May 9, 2011

Saint Christopher, Patron Saint Of Agrinio

Saint Christopher the Martyr is the patron saint of Agrinio, where there are two churches built in his honor. The old church was founded in 1847 and the new one was founded in 1920 and consecrated in 1937.

The old church is found east of the city choked by the grove. This was the first parish of the village of Vrachori near Agrinio, as is evidenced by the location of the first cemetery of Agrinio near the church. The people of Vrachori chose to name their church after St. Christopher for the following reason.

Vrachori was known for producing an excellent quality tobacco. Most families lived off of tobacco. For this reason they greatly feared the hail which would fall in the Spring which would always come from the east and destroy the crops. For this reason they had to "shield" themselves from these eastern storms, hence the position of the old church.

But why St. Christopher?

In an eleventh century Life of St. Christopher, it is written that as the Saint was being led to his martyrdom, he lifted his hands and eyes to heaven and prayed: "Lord, since many sought me from the city or the country or the fields or whatever type of land, I pray Master that no disaster befall them, neither hail, nor anger, nor barren vine...protect their land."

This is how St. Christopher became the patron of Agrinio.

Years later, as people moved towards the center of the city, the old church on the outskirts of the city seemed remote, and it was too small to fit the needs of the growing population. For this reason a location was chosen for a new church in the city, in Triantafyllia, on three acres of land donated by Anastasios Rokas.

Work on the new church began in September of 1920 and the church was consecrated on 20 March 1938. A great feast to Saint Christopher is celebrated on May 9 annually.

The video below is from the feast in 2011. The first two photos below that are of the old church, while the two photos below that are of the new church.