June 18, 2011

Saint Leontios the Athonite and Myrrhgusher (+ 1605)

St. Leontios the Myrrhgusher (Feast Day - June 18)


Myrrh gushes from your tomb O Leontios,
A sign of your extreme purity.
On the eighteenth Leontios was myrrh-laden like water.

Leontios was born in Argos of the Peloponnese in 1520. At 17 years of age in 1537 he abandoned family and friends and went to live in a monastery near his home. Having withdrawn from the world and all worldly things, he gave himself over to fasting, prayer, vigils, physical ascetic discipline, study of Holy Scripture and God-pleasing works. When the Turks came against Nafplio in 1537, Leontios prophesied that the castle would fall to the Turks.

Due to the fall of Nafplio to the Turks, Leontios made his way to Mount Athos, where he entered Dionysiou Monastery. He was accepted as long as he abided by the following two terms: 1) he would never leave the monastery, and 2) he would undertake any obedience set befor him. Living in a small cell within the Monastery for sixty years without ever leaving the monastery, Leontios was made worthy to become a bearer of the gifts of clairvoyance and prophecy. With these gifts he was able to read the thoughts and actions of all those who came to him for spiritual guidance. When spiritual children saw that he knew what they were thinking and doing in private, they would immediately turn to repentance.

On March 16, 1605 Saint Leontios foresaw his own death after a minor illness and he fell asleep in the Lord peacefully. Following the translation of his relics, the monks witnessed that they were gushing fragrant myrrh.

The author of his life is unknown, but it was written shortly after Saint Leontios' death, and an 18th century translation manuscript survives in Dionysiou Monastery. The intellectual priest Nikolaos Malaxos, protopriest of Nafplio in the 16th century, wrote of his relics gushing myrrh after his death.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Ornament of Argos, even its renowned boast and the divine tiller of the Forerunner's Monastery you have proved to be Leontios. By your virtuous conduct you shined, as a servant of Christ and renowned myrrhgusher, wherefore Father we all together praise you.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
You followed the Savior venerably O Venerable one, and you were purified through the harmony of the virtues, wherefore you glorified the Life-giving Word, and your body proved to be a spring of divine myrrh, for which we cry to you: Rejoice, divinely-minded Father Leontios.

Rejoice divine offspring of Argos, and the imitator of Venerable Dionysios, rejoice the fragrance of the monastics of Athos, Venerable Myrrhgusher Father Leontios.