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July 15, 2012

The Five Ascetic Martyrs of Leipsoi

Little information has survived regarding the five ascetic martyrs of the island of Leipsoi who have recently been canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The information we do have come from the records of the Holy Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on the island of Patmos as well as local tradition.

Leipsoi is an island south of Samos and to the north of Leros in Greece. In 1088 A.D. this island was given to St. Christodoulos together with the island of Patmos by Emperor Alexios Komnenos. In 1550 the first ascetics came to the island to live the monastic life from Patmos. They landed in the bay which they named Koimisis and there built a church dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos (Koimisis tis Theotokou), named after the holy icon they brought with them. To live and to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, they dug a well which they called "Holy Water" and cultivated wheat and vines for the bread and wine of the Eucharist. They also planted olive trees in order to extract the oil for the lighting of the oil lamps. Over time this Hermitage of the Dormition attracted other monastics, even a few Kollyvades from Mount Athos. For this reason a second Hermitage was built nearby (about 800 meters away) dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. In the 15th and 16th century five of these monks who settled in Leipsoi were killed by pirates or Turks. They were:

In 1558 Monk Neophytos of Amorgos was killed by the Turks.

In 1561 Monk Jonah of Leros was killed. He also is commemorated on February 28th.

In 1609 Monk Neophytos the Fazos was killed by pirates with an axe hammer. He also is commemorated on December 8th.

In 1635 Monk Jonah of Nysiros was killed by Pekir Pasha in the month of April by scourging.

In 1696 Monk Parthenios of Philipopolis was killed when a spear pierced his neck.

The Service to these Saints was written by the hymnographer Haralambos Bousias and information about them was gathered by Archimandrite Nikephoros Koumoundouros in 1999. Their holy relics rest today on the island of Leipsoi.

In 2002 these five ascetic martyrs were canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to be commemorated by all Orthodox Christians on the first Sunday after the 10th of July.

Απολυτίκιον Ήχος πλ. α'. Τον συνάναρχον Λόγον.
Την εν χρόνοις ποικίλοις πεντάδα ένθεον οσιοάθλων πατέρων εν τη Λειψώ, ιεροίς αγωνίσμασιν αθλήσασαν τιμήσωμεν, συν Νεοφύτω, Ιωνά, άλλω θείω Ιωνά, Παρθένιον και φωσφόρον ευχής, Νεόφυτον, φάρον, αυτών λιτάς απεκδεχόμενοι.

Κοντάκιον Ήχος πλ. δ'. Τη Υπερμάχω.
Λειψώ την νήσον, θεοφόροι, ηγιάσατε ιδρώτων όμβροις και αιμάτων ταις εκχύσεσι ταις υμών, οσιομάρτυρες τροπαιούχοι, Ιωνά συν Νεοφύτων ζεύγοι έμφρονι και συν άλλω Ιωνά, κλεινέ Παρθένιε, ανακράζοντες. Χαίροις, γέρας πεντάριθμον.

Χαίροις, των αγίων Λειψώ πεντάς, οσιομαρτύρων, ω Νεόφυτε, Ιωνά, συν τω Νεοφύτω και Ιωνά τω άλλω, Παρθένιε παμμάκαρ, πίστεως μάργαρα.