April 21, 2012

Saint Kali the Philanthropist

Saint Kali (Feast Days - May 15, 22, Bright Saturday)


What good thing about you shall I first praise Kali?
  Having gathered within yourself many good things.
On the twenty-second it is good and right to sing hymns to beautiful Kali.

All that we know of Saint Kali comes from the Service composed in her honor. The acrostic of the Canon to Saint Kali informs us that the poem was written by "the Cretan". In other words, it was written by an Archbishop of Crete. In the two manuscripts we have of this Service, we are given the interpretation of this, that it was "Andrew of Crete". If this Andrew of Crete is indeed Saint Andrew, Archbishop of Crete, then we know Saint Kali lived before his death in 740. But then again, this could be another Archbishop of Crete. Some have proposed Nikephoros Moschopoulos, Metropolitan of Crete, who was Metropolitan from 1285-1322. If this is the case, then Saint Kali lived no later than the fourteenth century.

Saint Kali was from Asia Minor. She was rich and disposed of her property to philanthropic causes. She was not likely a nun in a monastery, since nowhere in her Service does it indicate that she was, but she did live like a monastic. Rather, she housed the homeless and the needy in her home, because she was dedicated to ministering to the suffering of those less fortunate.

Kali was a virgin who lived wisely with asceticism, fasting and unceasing prayer. Her characteristic virtue was her philanthropy. Her chief motive was her desire to keep the commandments of Christ, and to imitate divine mercy and love for mankind.

In her Service many miracles are also attributed to her. At one time she made bread to distribute to the poor, and God made it so that as the bread was distributed it never diminished in order for all to be fed. Even after death are miracles attributed to Saint Kali. So many are her miracles, that the hymnographer refers it to being a "sea of miracles" and he calls her "miracle-gusher". She is known to have healed both soul and body, but especially painful and chronic diseases, rheumatism, arthritis, paralysis and deformities of the joints of body parts.

In Eleftherna of Mylopotamos, which is in the prefecture of Rethymno of Crete, the inhabitants have placed an icon of Saint Kali in a small cave (3X3X2), which is, in fact, an ancient carved tomb. Also on the islands of Kimolos and Paros there are places called Agia Kali. Each of these places have their own traditions regarding the identity of this Saint.

The memory of Saint Kali is celebrated on May 15th, 22nd and Bright Saturday.

Cave of Saint Kali in Eleftherna, Crete

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
In awe of the beauty of your virginity and your support of the hungry, healer of the sick, praise of the Venerables, the rule of beneficence, Kali the miracle-gusher, intercede to Christ that He grant good things to our souls.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
With fastings and vigils, you lived on earth, occupying yourself with prayer, and the contemplation of divine words, unwearied in your works and beneficence, now you live in the heavens, occupied with the vision of God and interceding to the Savior on our behalf, O Kali.

Rejoice, beauty of Virgins, do not turn away from our needs, inexhaustible treasure, those who suffer illness heal noble one, most-venerable Kali, shining by your miracles.